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How to achieve happiness through 
attitudes toward one's work, one's 
fellow men, and one's God 


William P. King 

' i Library 

This volume tells how to achieve happiness 
through the simple things of life and 
through attitudes toward one's work, one's 
fellow men, and one's God. It emphasizes a 
homespun, down-to-earth philosophy which 
may be applied to anyone's dailv living. 

It was written by a man who has attained 
happiness, and sets forth the author's phi- 
losophy of how happiness may be found 
by anyone in his dailv life. Serious things 
are treated with a lightness arising out of 
true faith, are clarified and made vivid 
through apt illustration and anecdote. 

This volume will be welcomed by all 
whose lives have fallen beneath a shadow, 
and whose nerves are taut and f raved. It 
offers a proved method for achieving and 
maintaining a happy life. 



? 16. 1926) 



ER 31. 1891) 






New York • Nashville 


Copyright, MCMXLVI 
By Stone & Pierce 

All rights in this book are reserved. No part of the 
text may be reproduced in any form without written per- 
mission of the publishers, except brief quotations used 
in connection with reviews in magazines or newspapers. 


Printed in the United States of America 


George Harris 





Who Have Gladdened the Hearts of 
Mother and Father 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 


A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.— Prov. 17:22 

It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad.— Luke 

Cast thy burden upon the Lord.— Ps. 55:22 

Let all your anxieties fall upon him.—/ Pet. 5:7 (Moffatt) 

Do not be troubled.— Matt. 6:31 (Moffatt) 

Never be anxious.— Phil. 4:6 (Moffatt) 

He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, ... to 
comfort all that mourn, ... to give unto them beauty for 
ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for 
the spirit of heaviness.— ha. 61:1-3 

If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.— John 

A distinction has been frequently made between "hap- 
piness" as dependent on outward circumstances and "bless- 
edness" and "joy" as the indestructible qualities of the 
inner spirit. It is held that the etymology of "happiness" 
indicates that which happens to a person. However, the 
scriptural language does not make this distinction, and 
the words have a similar meaning of not being conditioned 
by externalities. The term "happiness" is used in this 
volume in its highest significance. The word "pleasure" 
is sometimes employed as synonymous with "happiness" 
or "blessedness" or "joy," but it more strictly indicates 
physical gratifications. When rightly understood the dec- 
laration of John Stuart Mill is verified in human ex- 
perience: "Actions are right in proportion as they tend to 
produce happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the 
reverse of happiness." 



The search for happiness is a universal quest. In many 
mistaken ways the multitudes pursue a false trail in 
seeking satisfaction. One prevalent error is that happiness 
may be found by a direct pursuit. Nathaniel Hawthorne 
wrote: "Happiness in this world, when it comes, comes 
incidentally. Make it the object of pursuit, and it leads us 
a wild-goose chase, and is never attained." 

According to a proverb, "The eyes of a fool are in the 
ends of the earth." Happiness is never far from us; nor 
is there any need to take a journey in search of it. A man 
discovered a map with most intricate directions for find- 
ing a great treasure, and made a lifelong search, only to 
find when his life was spent that the final routing led him 
into his own back yard. 

Happiness is as close to us as our duty, the by-product 
of duty performed. Happiness and duty are inseparably 
linked. Duty not only results in happiness, but it is our 
duty to be happy. We should repent of our gloom. The 
admonition of Jesus is, "Be of good cheer." 

Certain theological notions have created a general sus- 
picion of happiness, with the idea that it is evil in itself. 
The Beatitudes of Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount 
evidently intend that we should be happy. Happiness 
ministers to health, helps us to do better work, creates 
friendships, and affords evidence of our faith in God. 

In contrast, we have the wail of pessimism. History 
and literature abound in lamentations over the misery 
of men. Solon was one of the Seven Wise Men of Greece, 
but the final conclusion of his wisdom was, "No mortal 
man is truly blessed; but all are wretched whom the sun 
looks down upon." Simonides laments: "Few and evil are 
the days of our lives; but everlasting is the sleep which we 
must sleep beneath the earth." 

Job sighed in the midst of his misery, "Man that is 


born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble." 

The author of the book of Ecclesiastes looked about 
and declared: "All was vanity and vexation of spirit, 
and there was no profit under the sun." 

Goethe, in his old age, said: "I have ever been con- 
sidered one of Fortune's chief favorites; nor can I com- 
plain of the course which my life has taken. Yet, truly, 
there has been nothing but toil and care; and in my 
seventy-fifth year I may say that I have never had four 
weeks of genuine pleasure." 

According to Voltaire men are "tormented atoms in 
a bed of mud, devoured by death, a mockery of fate. 
This world, this theater of pride and wrong, swarms 
with sick fools, who talk of happiness." Schopenhauer 
sounded the pessimistic note, "Life is a misfortune, and 
none but the dead are happy." 

A psychologist estimates that one fourth of the peo- 
ple have more misery than joy and that one out of every 
seven has to struggle at least occasionally against the 
impulse to commit suicide. It is my earnest desire to 
minimize in some measure the sum of human misery. 
Free use has been made of the ideas of a number of 
writers. Originality may be defined as undetected pla- 
giarism. This is doubtless a plagiarism, and I am sure 
the following lines are: 

He writes best, who steals the most 

Ideas both great and small; 
For the great mind who wrote them first 

From nature stole them all. 

If this volume should add something to the sum total 
of human happiness, I will be richly rewarded. I trust 
that the very solemn reader will not be repelled by the 
frequent light touches. 


Outside the door at the cathedral at Chester, England, 
is the prayer: 

Give me a sense of humour, Lord, 
Give me the grace to see a joke, 

To get some pleasure out of life, 
And pass it on to other folk. 

The bow that is always stretched loses its elasticity. 
We have the incident of a woman who got nervous 
prostration because at her church they always sang, 
"Awake, my soul, stretch every nerve." 

A scientist after discovering that cheerful people re- 
sist disease better than glum ones remarked, "The surly 
bird catches the germ." 

In Part Two on "The Foes of Happiness" chapters 
could have been added on "Physical Ailments" and 
"An Evil Temper." But these two factors of unhappi- 
ness are easily obvious, and only brief references are 

In Part Three on "The Conditions of Happiness," 
if space had allowed, we could have included chapters 
on "Conforming Our Wants to Our Needs" and "Faith 
in the Fatherly Love of God." Both of these factors, 
however, are recognized throughout the volume. It will 
be readily seen that no effort is made to have the chapters 
of uniform length. 

I am deeply indebted to Dr. Curtis B. Haley for reading 
the manuscript and making valuable criticisms and sug- 

W. P. K. 


Part One 

The Wrong Trail 
I. Fame, Wealth, Pleasure, Power, Knowledge . . 15 

Part Two 
The Foes of Happiness 

II. The Worry of Life 37 

III. The Work of Life 56 

IV. The Perplexed Mind 67 

V. The Self-Centered Life 79 

VI. The Dark Shadow of Fear 97 

Part Three 
The Conditions of Happiness 

VII. Accepting Ourselves 121 

VIII. The Saving Sense of Humor 136 

IX. Knowing How to Grow Old 153 

X. Memory and Imagination 164 

XL Happiness in the Inner Spirit 174 


Part One 

Chapter I 


The search for happiness is universal, but many have 
followed false paths in their search. Let us expose first the 
principal misleading trails. 


The supposition is made that with the achievement of 
fame comes contentment. How fleeting is fame in the 
light of the passing centuries. It is regarded as a distinction 
to be listed in Who's Who or to be a Phi Beta Kappa. How 
few of those names will survive for a century! I suspect 
my readers would have difficulty in naming all the presi- 
dents of the United States. 

Those who are leading editors, authors, educators, and 
scientists in a century will drop into obscurity. Our little 
earthly distinctions soon vanish. If as a preacher you have 
won the long-sought-for D.D., it may stand for Dead Duck 
or Dignified Dullness. If you are inclined to grow dizzy 
over some dazzling position, just think of the fact that 
the college presidents, bishops, city pastors, mayors, gov- 
ernors, congressmen, senators, military officials, and finan- 
cial magnates of today will in less than a century be con- 
signed to oblivion. In the United States we average about 
one really distinguished man to every half million people. 
This would give us today something like two hundred 



distinguished people. Then as you consider the lapse of 
time, not more than two or three of these will stand the 
test of the passing of centuries. "Surely every man walketh 
in a vain show." The estimate is that sixty billion people 
have lived on our earth since the dawn of history. How 
few of these have perpetuated their names. "Oh, why 
should the spirit of mortal be proud?" 

Henry Watterson of Kentucky was assigned by a writer 
in the New York Times a secure and abiding renown. 
Watterson wrote to a correspondent: "I am a poet myself, 
my son. Did you never read my great epic on fame? I 
completed only one verse, which reads as follows: 

A mound a little higher graded— 

Perhaps upon a stone a chiseled name, 

A dab of printer's ink soon blurred and faded, 
And then oblivion-that, that is fame." 

Fame is fickle and transient. Following his famous flight, 
Charles Lindbergh within thirty days received 3,500,000 
letters, 100,000 telegrams, and 14,000 packages. Eight men 
were detailed to sort the Lindbergh mail. In Washington 
one entire bus was filled with telegrams; three mail trucks 
were stuffed with letters. Ten one-ton delivery wagons 
were scarcely sufficient for the packages. Large amounts 
were offered him by motion picture producers. Five thou- 
sand poems were dedicated to "the conqueror of the air." 
In the course of events Lindbergh gave warning of how 
thorough was the preparation of Germany for war. He 
was accused of being pro-German. A woman remarked 
that she knew he was a German because his name sounded 
like "Limburger." He expressed his honest but un- 
popular notions about the entrance of the United States 
into war. Agitation reached a high pitch in Atlanta.. 
Georgia, over changing the name of Lindbergh Street. A 


newspaper reporter observed that in the lobby of a hotel 
Lindbergh received little notice. 

You had better not pin your happiness to the praise of 
man, "whose breath is in his nostrils." It is entirely 
legitimate to bring yourself into public recognition. We 
are not to be too backward about going forward, but we 
are to avoid a feverish form of self-promotion. You doubt- 
less have a valuable contribution to make to the public; 
but, if you are debarred, you can regret only that the 
public is deprived of the gems of wisdom which you could 
have given. Do not pity yourself; pity the stupidity of the 
public which has not given you due recognition. Your 
satisfaction in life is not to be found in the recognition of 
the public. 

The great spirits of the world have never sought fame. 
It has always come unsought and sometimes unwelcome. 
The master passion of eminent religious personalities was 
to perform the mission to which they were called. 

The great scientists have not been concerned with fame. 
The joy of achievement that comes from finding some- 
thing new in the universe is by far their greatest joy. A 
great research scientist is constantly discovering new things 
in his field. This is his reward. He knows how to spend 
long years in preparation and long hours in investigation 
with no thought of public honors. 

It requires a modest disposition to say that if nobody 
hears of my name, I will not go about blowing my own 
horn. There is the legitimate desire for the good opinion 
of our fellow men, but a mania for publicity is as un- 
satisfying as drinking salt water. According to Mark 
Twain, "Fame is a vapor, popularity is an accident, and 
the only earthly certainty is oblivion." In vain we seek to 
write our name with indelible ink on the pages of history. 
You can find your consolation in the absence of a transient 


fame. It saves you from being interrupted in your rest and 
work by being called upon for after-dinner speeches. 


Seeking wealth might well be recommended as an ob- 
jective for Mammon, but life proves its falseness. 
A writer says: 

One day I was called to the home of a very wealthy woman. 
All I knew about her was her name, address, and that she was 
very miserable. It was a gorgeous home and while I sat waiting 
for her I was entranced by the costly tapestries and paintings on 
the walls. . . . When she entered I said, : 'It must be a great joy 
to live here, for God has surely been good to you." A whimsical 
smile, full of sadness, came over her face. She . . . said, "I would 
take my life in a moment but for the annoyance it might give 
my friends, I am fed up with life. It is too much for me. Is 
there some place I can go or someone to whom I may turn for 
just one day of peace?" 

A Wall Street man included in his last will and testament, 
actuallv offered for probate in the state of New York, the 

following: excerpt: 

To my wife,, I leave her lover and the knowledge that I wasn't 
the fool she thought I was. To my son, I leave the pleasure of 
earning a living. For thirty-five years he has thought diat the 

pleasure was all mine. He was mistaken. To my daughter, I 
leave $100,000, She will need it. The only good piece of busi- 
ness her husband ever did was to marry her. To my valet, I leave 
the clothes he has been stealing from me regularly for the last 
ten years. Also mv fur coat that he wore last winter when I was 
in Palm Beach, To mv chauffeur, I leave mv cars. He has al- 
most ruined them, and I want him to have the satisfaction of 
fmishing the job. 

Riches have no promise of permanency. In the finan- 


cial debacle of 1929 the promised security turned out to 
be illusory. "Riches certainly make themselves wings." 
But even if permanence could be guaranteed to wealth, it 
utterly fails in producing happiness. In most instances 
the man reaches the close of his career with high blood 
pressure and a large stack of disquieting memories, and 
leaves his millions to soft-handed heirs, who waste life in 
unearned luxuries. 
Jesus said unto them: 

Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life con- 
sisteth not in abundance of the things which he possesseth. And 
he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain 
rich man brought forth plentifully: and he thought within 
himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where 
to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull 
down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all 
my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou 
hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, 
drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this 
night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those 
things be which thou hast provided? 

"Miser" and "misery" are from the same root word. A 
tourist was walking through an old country churchyard 
in England, when he discovered, almost hidden by the ivy, 
a plain slab of stone bearing this epitaph: 

Here lies a miser who lived for himself, 
And cared for nothing but gathering pelf. 
Now, where he is or how he fares, 
Nobody knows and nobody cares. 

The same tourist later visited St. Paul's Cathedral and 
observed a plain but massive statue, beneath which was 
the inscription: "Sacred to the memory of General Charles 


George Gordon, who at all times and everywhere gave his 
strength to the weak, his substance to the poor, his sym- 
pathy to the suffering, and his heart to God." 

Jesus warns of the "deceitfulness of riches." Riches de- 
ceive both those who have and those who have not. 
Wealth promises a satisfaction which it cannot give. I do 
not call attention to this deceitfulness through envy of 
the rich or as a matter of sour grapes. The indisputable 
fact of human life and experience is that the love of money 
is a perilous snare of the soul. In 1932 seventy-nine mil- 
lionaires committed suicide. Men of wealth had failed to 
find in their wealth the happiness their souls craved. Pos- 
sibly their minds were unbalanced; but, in any case, 
great wealth had not bought happiness. The majority 
of people who have taken their lives as the way out have 
been men and women who had been accustomed to plenty 
and whose resources had not been swept away. 

Yet all about us are men and women who are striving 
with feverish haste to accumulate some degree of wealth 
in the belief that wealth will bring happiness. So certain 
are they of this that they are prepared to defy the laws of 
God in order to attain the coveted boon. 

Carlyle puts the sarcastic question: "Will the whole 
Finance Ministers and Upholsterers and Confectioners of 
modern Europe undertake, in joint-stock company, to 
make one Shoeblack happy?" 

A college student who had the misfortune of having 
overindulgent parents said: "Well, you know I have al- 
ways got what I wanted; and now I find that, when I get 
it, I don't want it." The search for happiness in exter- 
nalities is as hopeless as the predicament of the man who 
lost his glasses. When his neighbor asked what was the 
matter, he answered: "I lost my spectacles, and now I can- 
not start searching for them until I have found them." 


If one observes the people who are happy and those 
who are unhappy, it will be evident that those with, and 
those without, material advantages are found in both 
groups. Salaries, comforts, and pleasures are quite desir- 
able, and are the sources of opportunity. They are not a 
guarantee of happiness. 

Not money, but the love of money, is a root of all evil. 
It becomes a root of all evil when it is made an end in 
itself. Avarice is the sin that holds on until death. It 
thrives on old age, and men want more money for the 
journey of life when less of the journey remains. The 
love of money gets an increasing hold on its possessor and 
dries up the springs of generosity. It dulls both the social 
and the spiritual insight and becomes increasingly self- 
centered. No sin except hypocrisy is rebuked by Jesus 
with such withering invectives as selfish wealth. 


Trying to be happy by means of jazz is like trying to 
make a meal out of pickles and pepper. Disillusionment 
and disappointment follow in the wake of this false trail. 

The news was blazoned out in New York papers in the 
summer of 1931 that Ralph Barton, a gifted caricaturist, 
had taken his own life. In a letter written for the public, 
Barton told of the life that he had lived: 

I have run from wife to wife, from house to house, and from 
country to country, in a ridiculous effort to escape from my- 
self. In so doing, I am very much afraid that I have brought a 
great deal of unhappiness to those who have loved me. . . . No 
one thing is responsible for this suicide, and no one person ex- 
cept myself. ... I did it because I am fed up with inventing 
devices for getting through twenty-four hours a day. 


In a feverish chase for pleasure, people find themselves 
farther away from the end of their pursuit. The society 
woman came anxiously to her physician crying: "Doctor, 
I want you to help me; I'm all run down." After an ex- 
amination the doctor replied: "No, you are not all run 
down; the trouble is you are all wound up." 

George Jean Nathan, a confirmed cynic, gives expression 
to the false philosophy of life: 

To me, pleasure and my own personal happiness are all I 
deem worth a hoot. The happiness and welfare of mankind are 
not my profession; I am perfectly willing to leave them to the 
care of the professional missionaries of one sort or another; I 
have all that I can do to look out for my own happiness and 

Nathan, with his earth-bound sense, is an apt illustra- 
tion of "The Tame Old Duck." The old duck had the 
advantage over Nathan in that it did have faint as- 
pirations left for the upper sky. An apt description is 
given in a poem by Kenneth C. Kaufman: 

I think my soul is a tame old duck, 

Dabbling around in barnyard muck, 

Fat and lazy with useless wings, 

But sometimes when the North wind sings, 

And the wild ones hurtle overhead, 

It remembers something lost and dead, 

And cocks a wary, bewildered eye, 

And makes a feeble attempt to fly. 

It's fairly content with the state it's in, 

But it isn't the duck it might have been. 1 

At last the fleshpots become empty, and the seekers of 
mere sensual satisfaction grope among the tombstones of 
dead passions. The pleasure seeker exhausts every sensa- 
tion and becomes satiated and nauseated. It was said of a 


young millionaire who after a career of dissipation took 
his own life: "He died of old age in his youth." 

The pleasure seekers who make sensual pleasures ends 
in themselves are doomed to unhappiness. The selfish 
sensualist is haunted by a vision of the good which he 
might have achieved. His only comfort is to persuade 
himself that he is not totally evil. He derives a slight spark 
of satisfaction in the realization that he has not broken all 
of the commandments. The story is told that an army 
chaplain preached a forceful sermon on the Ten Com- 
mandments. One private, who was left in a serious mood, 
in a little while brightened up and consoled himself: 
"Anyway I never made a graven image." 

A man may be bankrupt in morals with scarcely a 
single virtue left, but he will constantly reiterate that he is 
not as bad as someone else and that there are certain evils 
which he would not do. This is to say that a man's inherent 
moral sense holds up before him the ideal of a righteous 
life, and that he is unhappy because he has violated the 
ideal. So the slim satisfaction is that he has at least a small 
scrap of good left. But in the absence of happiness there is 
the craving for some excitement or thrill or sensation 
which will produce a temporary forgetfulness of life's 

The pursuit of pleasure becomes a strenuous task. We 
have the story of a cowboy riding gloomily into town on 
payday. When asked where he was going, he replied: 
"Goin' to town to get drunk; and, gosh, how I dread it!" 
Some people give themselves to a form of recreation so 
tiring and exhausting that they are in need of rest after 
their recreation. When recreation is pursued as an end 
in itself, it becomes a painful pursuit of pleasure. The 
purpose of pleasure is defeated. Recreation should bring 
relaxation and not tension. Recreation should be a re-crea- 

1 Level Land, Kaleidograph Press, 1935. Used by permission. 


tion. The pleasure we pursue in our leisure hours should 
enhance our physical, mental, and moral fitness. The fact 
that the Sabbath is with many people a dissipation rather 
than a recuperation has given rise to the saying, "It's a 
great life if you don't week-end." There are those who in 
the chase after pleasure make it the hardest work in the 
world. A woman complained that she spent so much time 
playing bridge that she had no time for leisure. 

Monte Carlo, which belongs to the principality of 
Monaco, is a popular resort for the pleasure-mad group 
who find more pain than pleasure. This gives me the 
delightful opportunity of saying, "When I was abroad." 
We visited the Casino of Monte Carlo where the gamblers 
were watching the roulette wheel with one chance to win 
against at least twenty-five chances to lose. We saw the 
hard metallic faces of men and women who for a time at 
least had more money than mind. Some of the hardest, the 
most hopeless, and the most joyless faces I have ever seen 
were around the gaming tables. I was informed that sui- 
cides were very frequent. The bitter defeats, the disap- 
pointments, and disillusionments of pleasure seekers would 
fill several volumes. 

Multitudes today are obsessed by a practical materialism 
which ignores the spiritual elements in life. This gives 
rise to the mania for pleasure, with all of its fascination 
and allurement. 

If a tithe of reports is true, sensuality is undermining 
the virtue of large numbers of young people. There are 
young women who imagine that they have escaped when 
there has been the prevention of exposure and shame. But 
neither the man nor the woman has escaped. The Word 
of God does not say that your sin will be found out, but 
that your sin will find you out. There is no exception to 
this. It finds you out in your destroyed innocence, in your 
guilty memory, in your weakened will. Although you may 


conceal your sin, you injure your own soul and poison 
the fountain of genuine joy. 

Pile up your sensations; get all the thrills you can; 
present your nervous system to every experience that 
comes along. When you have completed that process, you 
will discover that it has brought you nervous excitement 
but not happiness. 

Byron sounded the depth of sensual pleasure and wrote 
the woeful wail: 

Through many a clime 'tis mine to go, 

With many a retrospection curst, 
And all my solace is to know, 

Whate'er betide, I've known the worst, 
What is that worst? Nay do not ask, 

Through pity from the search forbear, 
Smile on nor venture to unmask 

And view the living hell that's there. 

He demonstrated the truth stated in Proverbs concern- 
ing the "strange woman": "Her feet go down to death; her 
steps take hold on hell." 

In his thirty-third year Byron wrote: 

Through life's dull road, so dim and dirty, 
I have dragged to three and thirty. 
What have these years left to me? 
Nothing— except thirty-three. 

Another poet speaks of banishing good and ill with the 
laughter of the heart. But, alas, the gay laughter of the heart 
cannot change the moral order of the world. Jesus said 
to the woman of Samaria, who had been on the wrong 
trail: "No wonder you're a thirsty woman. If you could 
only understand! There is living water that stays fresh 
and sparkling up to the end of life! You might have it for 
the asking and never thirst again." 


Consideration has been given to the perversion of 
pleasure, which produces satiety but not satisfaction. There 
are physical pleasures that are not antagonistic to happi- 
ness of spirit. Pleasure and happiness are not inconsistent. 
The ascetic is in error when he opposes all pleasure. 
Pleasure when under moral control enhances happiness. 
God "giveth us richly all things to enjoy." 


Men have sought for satisfaction of life in acquiring 
power. Run over your list of dictators through the cen- 
turies, and you find a group of miserable men. The latest 
conspicuous example is Adolf Hitler, whose mind was a 
seething caldron of bitterness, hate, and revenge; and no 
one thinks of him as having won happiness. Those who 
reach position of power are in constant fear lest their hold 
on those whom they dominate be weakened or lost. 

The financial magnates live in uneasiness through a 
dread of financial upheavals that will mean loss of their 
fortunes. The political despots have a gloomy anticipa- 
tion that the subservient masses may throw off the yoke 
of oppression. They are suspicious of treachery and the 
fatal blow of an assassin, and must be strongly guarded. 
They have the consciousness that sooner or later they will 
have to pay the penalty for the perversion of power. The 
very possession of absolute power means that it will in- 
variably be perverted. 

The modern tyrant can say with the Roman tyrant 
Tiberius, "I hold a wolf by the ears." This perversion of 
power not only fails to produce happiness in the possessor 
but results in unhappiness to many others. The fact, how- 
ever, must be recognized that power is one of the in- 
gredients of happiness. The power which Jesus possessed 
to bring joy to other lives and which we possess in a less 
measure is conducive to our happiness. 


Power belongs to the human personality as a conse- 
quence of man's endowment of freedom. Through this 
power man either develops or degrades his personality. 
With this power he brings either weal or woe to fellow 
human beings. Apart from this freedom man could not 
achieve a character capable of happiness, and with this 
freedom perverted he becomes a misery-producing agency, 
That which belongs in common to the three specific temp- 
tations of Jesus was the temptation to misuse his power. 
This is in reality the essence of all temptations; and, when 
yielded to, power becomes a blight rather than a blessing. 

Despite the promise of glory and triumph, dictators at 
last go down in defeat. Napoleon died a miserable death 
in enforced exile. Mussolini aspired to be another Caesar. 
In his pompous pride, he made the attempt to supplant 
the world-accepted calendar with the date of his march on 
Rome. In his last moments he vainly cried, "No, no," as 
he was executed by a firing squad of his own countrymen. 
His body, together with that of his mistress, was hung head 
downward on the square of Milan. Hitler's ambition was 
to dominate the world. In all probability he was a suicide, 
his body burned and buried in the ruins of Berlin. His 
Reich, which he boasted would last for a thousand years, 
is in ruins. These dictators found their "purples rent 
asunder, disinherited of thunder." 

A state founded on violence and terror and falsehood 
is doomed. History is strewn with the wrecks of nations 
that violated the principles of justice. The misuse of power 
has brought disaster and defeat to the most powerful na- 
tions. The victorious nations today, including our own, 
in the pride of victory face the peril of perversion of 
power. If they fail to employ their military, political, eco- 
nomic, and scientific power in the service of justice and 
human freedom, they will be sowing the seed of future 
misery for the world. 


Practical science through the utilization of steam and 
electricity has lifted many burdens from the shoulders of 
men and women and has ministered to human comfort in 
a thousand other ways. The achievements of science have 
freed men from much drudgery through labor-saving 

Science has immensely augmented physical power. Mod- 
ern scientific discoveries have immeasurably added to 
human power, which has outrun moral control. As a result 
these scientific achievements are proving to be more pro- 
ductive of human misery than of human happiness. It is 
fearful to contemplate the havoc that was wrought by 
bombing planes and all of the improved implements of 
war. Power rightly used ministers to human comfort and 
security, but power perverted is destructive of comfort 
and security. Mere power, unregulated and uncontrolled, 
cannot produce happiness. 

The world's population of about two billion is increas- 
ing twelve million annually. With an application of prac- 
tical science the earth could possibly support eight billion 
people. But there can be no freedom from suicidal strife 
unless the minds of men are under moral and spiritual 

An estimate is that the electric power used in the 
United States is equal to the physical equivalent of 150 
slaves for each member of the population. 

In the textile industry one workman with a machine 
produces as much yarn as 45,000 did formerly. In the 
manufacture of boots and shoes, one machine takes the 
place of 250 men. In ditch-digging one huge steam shovel 
can do the work of 400 men. One machine today makes 
as many glass tubes as were formerly made by 600 glass 

This use of laborsaving machinery is only a small part 


of the total picture. This increase of mechanical power, 
though largely adding to the wealth of the nation, has not 
resulted in an equitable distribution of wealth. It has not 
brought about an answer to the prayer, "Lord give me 
neither too little nor too much." 

The power of applied science can either deepen the 
misery or heighten the happiness of vast numbers of peo- 
ple. It has on the credit side shorter hours of labor, more 
leisure, and a larger opportunity for self-improvement. On 
the other hand we have unemployment and the abject 
poverty of the slums. The verdict of Stuart Chase is that 
on the whole the machine is a benefactor, but makes robots 
of many and may become a Frankenstein if we do not find 
a better way of managing the complex things it has created 
for us. 

In brief this power of practical science may be either a 
boon or a bane. It is only as this power is put under moral 
and spiritual control that it can result in the welfare and 
weal of the people. The way of happiness is not found in 
financial power nor in the power of practical science nor in 
political power. With some measure of exaggeration Lord 
Acton said, "Power always corrupts, and absolute power 
corrupts absolutely." 

The latest and most revolutionary discovery and use 
of power is the atomic bomb. We are informed by scien- 
tists that atomic energy is thirty million times more 
powerful than TNT. 

The method of warfare, if war continues, will be entire- 
ly changed. It will avail nothing to put our young men 
into the goose step when a bomb can destroy a whole army 
or city. Regret has been expressed that scientific discovery 
was not destroyed in its birth. We are convinced, however, 
that scientific progress is an expression of the mind and 
the will of God, but not the employment of science for 
destructive purposes. The devil is not smart enough to 


have wrested this secret from nature. It is the will of God 
that this power should fulfill a constructive function. 

There belongs to the future the employment of this 
power in various ways for the well-being and happiness of 
mankind. Only the moral and spiritual transformation 
of men will prevent the perversion of the power. Will this 
revolutionary scientific discovery prove to be a deterrent 
of war? The atomic bomb with its future development 
will not be the exclusive possession of any one nation or 
group of nations. If spiritual progress lags behind scientific 
progress, we have no assurance of the long continuance of a 
civilized world. It must be one world, or we will have no 
world. The choice belongs to mankind to bring into ex- 
ercise a spiritual power that is more powerful than the 
marvelous power of science. This is the power of love, 
the Golden Rule that shall bind the nations together in the 
unity of brotherhood and peace. 


As desirable as it is to know, knowledge alone fails to 
bring rest of soul. A knowledge without faith as it con- 
fronts the magnitude of the universe and the mysteries of 
life simply adds to man's misery. Some of the keenest 
intellects have been most wretched. 

It's no in books, it's no in [lore], 

To make us truly blest; 
If happiness hae not her seat 

And centre in the breast 
We may be wise, or rich, or great, 

But never can be blest. 

"He that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow." 
This is not the wail of a false pessimism, but this declara- 
tion has been verified by all the centuries of human ex- 
perience. One may possess knowledge without possessing 


happiness, but knowledge is conducive to happiness when 
followed by obedience. "If ye know these things, happy 
are ye if ye do them." A knowledge of the vital fundamen- 
tals of the Christian faith concerning God, Jesus Christ, 
and immortality is necessary to peace and security of mind. 

The heart is enraptured as some new light breaks forth 
from the word of God. The mathematician thrills with de- 
light as the long-sought solution of some problem flashes 
on his mind. The inventor is gladdened when his toil is 
rewarded by some useful invention. The astronomer, when 
he discovers a new planet or star, experiences the happi- 
ness of knowledge. 

When the medical scientist discovers some remedy for 
a destructive malady, he has a joyful satisfaction because 
relief is brought to the afflicted. 

An earlier generation had mastered smallpox, but in our 
own lifetimes we have seen the conquest of yellow fever, 
diphtheria, typhoid, scarlet fever, hookworm, typhus, and 
other scourges of mankind. There has also been further 
progress in anesthesia, and great reduction in the risks of 
childbearing and of infancy. Pasteur's far-reaching dis- 
covery of the effects of germs from the air upon wounds 
has opened the way for great advances in surgery. 

The discovery of insulin for diabetes is one of the 
recent achievements of medical science. Also recent is the 
use of sulfa drugs and penicillin, which have largely re- 
duced the death rate in cases of pneumonia and influenza. 
These drugs have practically removed the danger from 
infection. More than three fourths of the men who re- 
ceived abdominal wounds in the first World War died as a 
result of infection. After the Pearl Harbor attack infec- 
tion was almost negligible. There were no amputations 
because of infected wounds. In the first World War 47 
per cent of the amputations were necessary because of in- 
fection. Thousands, and in the long run millions, of lives 


will be saved as the result of this great medical discovery. 
Dr. Donald Ross was a deeply religious man, and as he 
began his investigation of malaria he made this prayer: 

The painful faces ask: Can we not cure? 

We answer: No, not yet— we seek the laws. 
O God, reveal through all this thing obscure 

The unseen, unknown, million-murdering causel 

For three years Dr. Ross worked tirelessly, and then made 
an announcement of almost incalculable significance. He 
said— and accompanied his statement with ample scientific 
proof— that malaria is caused by a microorganism which 
gains access to the blood stream. This microorganism is 
invariably spread by a certain species of mosquito. 

We cannot begin to estimate the joy and gladness which 
have been brought to human life by these and other well- 
known contributions of medical knowledge. We are grate- 
fully to recognize that knowledge is an ingredient of happi- 
ness, but knowledge alone falls short of the goal of happi- 
ness. Dr. H. H. Farmer in The World and God advances the 
idea that every fresh achievement becomes a new instru- 
ment and opportunity for sin to use. Even the ministries 
of medicine can be used to ward off the consequences of 
wrong living and give new latitude to the evil will. 

The old Greek conception was that knowledge and 
virtue are synonymous. This idea is contradicted by hu- 
man experience. We are familiar with the proverbial 
knowledge and wisdom of Solomon: "For he was wiser 
than all men. . . . And he spake three thousand proverbs: 
and his songs were a thousand and five." The Queen of 
Sheba was impressed: "It was a true report that I heard 
... of thy wisdom." And yet the biblical record is that 
Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines— 699 wives 
and 300 concubines too many. "For it came to pass, when 


Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart 
after other gods." 

It was said of Francis Bacon, "He was the wisest and 
meanest of mankind." Knowledge, like power, may be 
perverted. Germany stood at the top among the educated 
nations, and yet reached the bottom in baseness and moral 
depravity. Learning of itself does not make men religious 
or direct their conduct into moral channels. It has often 
happened that the most learned men have been egoistic 
and selfish. "Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth." 
Woodrow Wilson said, "In Washington some men grow, 
while others just swell." Some of the most consummate 
villains of our nation are university graduates. 

The admission may be made that knowledge does con- 
tribute to happiness. "Happy is the man that findeth 
wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding." 

While much study proves to be a weariness to the flesh, 
yet it is through good literature that our minds and 
spirits are enriched. Through books we have access to the 
great minds of the past and the present. The masters in 
science, philosophy, poetry, and religious thought bring 
their valued treasures. The historians, biographers, and 
essayists add their contribution. But knowledge has its 
limitations as a happiness-producing factor. The author 
of Ecclesiastes gave expression to what is sometimes all too 
true: "He that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow." 
The further fact is that, even with the abundant opportu- 
nity of gaining knowledge, the area of our knowledge is 
extremely limited. 

We are to recognize this limitation of our knowledge 
and reconcile ourselves to it. The little girl, having gone 
halfway through her primer, came from school and said, 
"Mama, does I know as much now as I don't know?" We 
do not know as much as we do not know. For the man who 
does not know as much as he does not know and knows 


that he does not know as much as he does not know, there 
is hope. The man who does not know as much as he does 
not know and does not know that he does not know as 
much as he does not know is hopeless. 

We are not to profess a knowledge which we do not 
possess, nor are we to be disturbed over mysteries that we 
cannot solve. We are to avoid an intellectual pride over 
knowledge that puffs up and freely to admit our limita- 
tions. The explanation needs to be made that the different 
paths of "The Wrong Trail" are not antagonistic to hap- 
piness. Fame, wealth, pleasure, power, and knowledge are 
not in themselves evil. They become evil and result in 
unhappiness only as they are selfishly pursued as ends in 

Part Two 

Chapter II 


Some people are habitually grouchy and always have 
something to whine about. The old farmer, when con- 
gratulated on the fine crops, said: "Yes, but it's mighty 
trying on the soil." An old woman is quoted as saying: "I 
feel very well; but when I feel well, I always feel bad, for 
I know I am sping^ to feel worse afterward." Another 
woman, questioned about her husband, replied: "He's 
been enjoying poor health, bat he is complaining of feeling 
better now." 

There is something kinder pitiful about the man who growls 
Because the sun beats down too hard, because the west wind 

Who never eats a meal but what the cream ain't thick enough, 
The coffee ain't been settled right, or else the meat's too tough. 
Poor chap, he's just the victim of fate's oldest, meanest trick; 
You see, by watching mules and men, it don't take brains to 



We fail to accomplish anything through worry. "Which 
of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his 
stature?" An ordinary intelligence should recognize the 
futility of worrying over matters we can help, or worrying 
over matters we cannot help. 

We should never attempt to bear more than one kind of 
trouble at once. Some people bear all three kinds: all they 



have had, all they have now, and all they expect to have. 
To fret about that which is gone is worse than futile. 
Shakespeare is true to our experience when he says: 

To mourn a mischief that is past and gone, 
Is the next way to draw new mischief on. 

All the grieving in the world cannot change the things 
that are past. All the sighs and moans and tears and re- 
grets that you can pile up are powerless to change one iota 
of what has taken place in the irrevocable past. To face 
fairly this fact and accept the finality of the past will 
relieve us of useless anxiety. We are to take the energy 
and concern and thought that are misdirected toward an 
unchangeable past and to direct them toward making a 
better present and a still better future. For the buried 
past, there is no resurrection. It is utterly useless to spend 
two successive moments in bewailing the irrevocable past. 
The lament is voiced in the familiar lines: 

For of all sad words of tongue or pen, 

The saddest are these: "It might have been!" 

In vain we say, "Backward, turn backward, O Time, in 
your flight." There are two days which we should not 
worry over— yesterday and tomorrow. 

To fret about the future is equally as useless as to worry 
over the past. The words of Jesus are directed against 
this futile form of anxiety. "Be not therefore anxious for 
the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. 
Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." We can deal 
with the future only as it becomes the present. When we 
try to anticipate the future, we are prone to magnify its 
possible ills. 

But the chronic worrier is bound to worry. He will 
worry for fear that he may worry. 


I joined the new Don't Worry Club 

And now I hold my breath. 
I'm so scared for fear I'll worry 

That I'm worried most to death. 

The only escape from the fixed habit of worry is to recog- 
nize our responsibility for the habit and to exercise our 
wills against it 

The little girl said, "I have had such a happy day, mother, 
happier than yesterday." 

The mother asked "Why is it so different from yester- 

The reply was, "Well, yesterday my thoughts pushed me 
around; today I pushed my thoughts around." 

We can persistently refuse to indulge in the various 
forms of anxiety which we know are of no avail. An 
Irishman said: "There are so many dangers from the 
cradle to the grave, it is a wonder that any of us ever live 
to reach the grave." We are not to try to carry a load that 
only God is strong enough to bear. 

I have not seen as much trouble as some people; I have 
seen more trouble than some other people. But I could 
not have gone through the years if I had added to present 
responsibilities, regrets over the past and anxieties for the 
future. Whatever difficulties beset you, you can always 
hold out a little longer. You never know what is just 
around the corner. So many times when you seem to be 
approaching a blind alley, it opens up into a broad avenue. 
If you should come in this life to a dead-end street, it will 
open up into a golden street on the other side. 


Worry fails to recommend our faith to others. We 
misrepresent the love and goodness of God when our own 
lives are unhappy and our faces are drawn into hard 


knots of care. We have the safeguard against evil only 
when we have an inward satisfaction of life. It must be 
said to the credit of Christian Scientists that they do not 
brood over their ailments, whether real or imaginary. 
They do not talk about their sickness. They refuse to 
mope and whine. They obey the injunction of Jesus, "Be 
not anxious." We are prone to worry over many matters 
that are trivial. The keen observation has been made that 
it is hardly possible to exaggerate the unimportance of 

When one possesses health and sanity and a good con- 
science, it is nothing short of ingratitude to worry over 
things that are incidental. And even if you do not possess 
physical health, nothing is gained by worry. 

For every evil under the sun, 
There is a remedy, or there is none; 
If there be one, try and find it, 
If there be none, never mind it. 


The physical harm that results from worry can hardly 
be exaggerated. Worry produces indigestion and stomach 
disorders. Dr. W. C. Alvarez, of the Mayo clinic, said: 
"Ulcers frequently flare up or subside according to the 
hills and valleys of emotional stress." One patient of Dr. 
Alvarez is in the fur business, and Dr. Alvarez said that 
his ulcers always become worse about November 1 when 
the women in town all rush to his office to get their coats 
out of storage. Another patient developed ulcer when he 
lost his money but later became well when his uncle died 
and left him $50,000. The observation has been made 
that, when stocks go down, diabetes goes up. Injury is 
inflicted on the mind. Brooding over trouble, offenses, 
and criticisms results in nervousness and insanity. Anxiety 


stunts the growth of the spirit. The soul cannot grow in a 
troubled atmosphere. "Be not . . . anxious for the morrow." 


We are familiar with the admonition against a purpose 
which is below our possibilities. We are likewise prone to 
aspire to attainments that are beyond our power and to 
think of our capacities more highly than we ought to 
think. We assume responsibility for what is beyond our 
control and doom ourselves to misery because we cannot 
achieve what is outside the range of our talents. 

The distraction of multiplied cares results in tension 
and strain. These multiform anxieties have been classified 
as: worries about disaster which never happens, 40 per 
cent of all anxieties; worries about decisions made in the 
past, 30 per cent; worries about possible sickness and a 
possible nervous breakdown, 12 per cent; worries about 
children and friends 10 per cent; and worries that have a 
real foundation, possibly 8 per cent of the total. 

Some of your hurts you have cured, 
And the sharpest you still have survived; 

But what torments of pain you endured 
From evils that never arrived! 

The causes of worry are too numerous for separate 
notice. One further cause that may be mentioned is an 
overanxious concern as to the results or lack of results of 
our work. Our obligation is to be faithful in the task 
which God has committed to us and leave the results 
with him. God does not hold us responsible for results 
so long as our duty is done. Jean Ingelow expresses a true 
philosophy of living: 

I am glad to think 
I am not bound to make the wrong go right; 


But only to discover, and to do 

With cheerful heart, the work that God appoints. 

The chronic worrier is disturbed by small trivialities. 
Dr. Fosdick tells of a woman who had a supersensitive 
conscience about "every idle word." Her conversation 
dried up, and she ceased to visit. 

Blue is all right in the sky, 
It is all right in a maiden's eye, 
But if you let it enter you, 
It will kill you by and by. 


A very common cause of trouble is anticipating trouble. 

Better never trouble Trouble 
Until Trouble troubles you; 

For you only make your trouble 
Double-trouble when you do; 

And the trouble— like a bubble- 
That you're troubling about, 

May be nothing but a cipher 
With its rim rubbed out. 

Jesus bids us not be overanxious because that kind of 
worry is foolish and futile. Do not cross the bridge before 
you come to it because you may never come to it; and if 
you do, it is not likely to collapse. Nine tenths of the 
things we fear never materialize. 

A story is told of a preacher of this worrying sort. He 
lived in New Jersey. He was going over to downtown New 
York to preach one Sunday morning. True to his habit of 
anticipating all possible trouble, he wrought himself up 
lest he should miss the ferry and be late for the service. 
When he reached the pier, sure enough there was the ferry 


boat four or five feet away. In his anxiety to get aboard 
he flung first his umbrella and then his grip, and finally 
made a tremendous leap himself, his long coattails flying 
behind. But the gentleman who caught him and saved 
him from falling surprised him by saying: "You idiot, 
this boat is not going out; it's coming in." 

The agitated preacher reminds one of the awful ex- 
perience of Sancho Panza, who hung half the night by his 
fingers from a window ledge with a terrible abyss yawning 
beneath him. When dawn came, he found that his feet 
were but a few inches from the ground. 


The very exceptional characters have retained their 
peace of mind despite circumstances that threatened their 
physical safety. While the assurance of security is not a 
guarantee of happiness, yet with the average person the 
absence of a feeling of safety makes security of mind im- 

Multitudes of people are haunted by a realization of 
economic insecurity. Ideally it is true that our stalwart 
saints have not been dependent on material circumstances 
for a joy that is beyond the reach of outward forces. But 
while average individuals are not made happy by eco- 
nomic sufficiency, they become miserable over the prospect 
of hunger and want. 

In the main, material well-being is a necessary element 
in contentment of spirit. We can scarcely expect that the 
unemployed with those who are dependent on them will 
enjoy life when they have no certainty of bread for to- 
morrow. Average people of average goodness possess no 
such spiritual wealth as to make them joyful when con- 
fronted by material want. But despite the lack of material 
security, we should realize that there are spiritual values 
that are forever secure. 


Said the robin to the sparrow: 

"I should really like to know 
Why these anxious human beings 

Rush about and worry so." 

Said the sparrow to the robin: 
"Friend, I think that it must be 

That they have no Heavenly Father 
Such as cares for you and me." 


The motto of the sundial is, "I record only the un- 
clouded hours." 

Bill Fox may well be called the champion optimist. He 
was sitting on the roof of his house during a flood, watch- 
ing the water flow past, when his neighbor who owned a 
boat rowed across to him. 

"Hello, Bill," said the man. 

"Hello, Sam!" replied Bill pleasantly. 

"All your fowls washed away this morning?" 

"Yes, but the ducks can swim." 

"Orange trees gone too?" 

"Yes, but everybody said the crop would be a failure, 

"I see the river's reached above your windows, Bill." 

"That's all right, Sam," was the reply. "Them windows 
needed washin'." 

I am not advocating any Pollyanna optimism, but the 
viewpoint that looks for the hopeful outlook and that 
searches for the light, even in darkness. 

Browning sounds the note of hope: 

My own hope is, a sun will pierce 
The thickest cloud earth ever stretched; 

That, after Last, returns the First, 
Though a wide compass round be fetched; 


That what began best, can't end worst, 
Nor what God blest once, prove accurst. 

The same idea, in a lighter vein, is expressed by Robert 
Loveman, a Georgia poet: 

It isn't raining rain to me, 

It's raining daffodils; 
In ever)' dimpled drop I see 

Wild flowers on the hills. 

The clouds of gray engulf the day 

And overwhelm the town; 
It isn't raining rain to me, 

It's raining roses down. 

We fail to look on the bright side when we fail to 
exercise the art of appreciating the good things we possess. 
W r e are prone to take the gifts and blessings of God as a 
matter of fact. Why not consciously enjoy our enjoyments? 
An Irishman engaged a luxurious room at a hotel and 
asked to be awakened at five o'clock next morning. He did 
this for the joy of assuring the clerk that he "didn't have 
to get up." Why not enjoy life before the darkening 
shadows of death settle down upon us? Why not enjoy our 
friend before his voice is forever hushed in this world? 
Why not enjoy our religion with the freshness of apprecia- 
tion each day, as fresh as the mercies of God? Why not 
enjoy home before some members of the family leave us 
for the wide world outside, or for the wider spaces of the 
eternal world? 

Strange, we never prize the music 
Till the sweet-voiced bird has flown; 

Strange, that we should slight the violets 
Till the lovely flowers are gone; 


Strange, that summer skies and sunshine 

Never seem one half so fair 
As when winter's snowy pinions 

Shake their white down in the air. 


You are to dispel from the spirit the two dark demons of 
grouchiness and gloom by acting against the feelings. If, 
when arising in the morning, you are in a melancholy 
mood, feeling worried and blue, stand before the mirror 
and practice a pleasant expression. When it is set, you can 
start out for the day and your good cheer will be con- 

Volitional activity has its bearing on one's state of 
mind. The truth was expressed in a slightly exaggerated 
form by William James, who said in effect that a person 
does not run because he is scared, but is scared because 
he is running. The voluntary path to cheerfulness, if our 
spontaneous cheerfulness be lost, is to sit up cheerfully, 
look around cheerfully, and act and speak as if cheerfulness 
were already there. To feel brave we should act as if we 
were brave and use all our will to that end, and courage 
will likely replace fear. To wrestle with a bad feeling only 
pins our attention on it, whereas if we act as if from some 
better feeling, the bad feelings soon 

. . . fold their tents, like the Arabs, 
And as silently steal away. 

"If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." 
When knowledge stops short of action, it fails to reach the 
haven of happiness. Jesus constantly emphasized the neces- 
sity of obedience to the will of God. When some of his 
hearers pronounced a blessing on a human kinship to him, 
he said, "Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word 
of God, and keep it," 



There are many people who are adepts at dispensing 
gloom and diffusing unhappiness. They dwell on the dis- 
agreeable things— their own personal woes, the latest scan- 
dal—and they always succeed in stirring the disagreeable 
emotions. The mood of gloom and melancholy is not an 
individual affair. It is contagious, as happiness is. 

While happiness is not won by a direct chase, yet it is a 
duty to comply with the conditions that make it a reality. 
The purpose of Jesus is that his followers should be happy 
even in the midst of the world's tribulations. He has much 
to say of peace and joy and freedom from anxiety. 

Ours is a singing faith. "Serve the Lord with gladness: 
come before his presence with singing." Henry Ward 
Beecher pronounced the New Testament a book of in- 
finite joy. Christianity has properly been called the most 
joyous of all the religions of mankind. Its keynote is "good 
tidings of great joy." Jesus Christ was a "man of joy, and 
acquainted with bliss," even more than he was a "man of 
sorrows, and acquainted with grief." "For the joy that was 
set before him [he] endured the cross, despising the shame." 

To look on the faces of men and women, even in Chris- 
tian congregations, sometimes gives one the impression 
that nothing could be caught from them except the dumps! 
One of the marks of the man who knows Christ's presence 
is the possession of a great joy that shines through his eyes 
and radiates from his entire personality, advertising the 
nature of religion better than any words. Blessed are the 
happiness-makers, for in bringing joy to others their own 
joy is increased. 

The promise of Jesus to his disciples is, "Your joy no 
man taketh from you." This is the sadly missing element 
in the lives of many professing Christians today. Their 
lives are as fretful and disturbed as if Jesus had never 


promised the grace of joy. We need to recapture this lost 
radiance. The loss of it and the lack of it involve a twofold 
peril. The first is that without this inner happiness, our 
own characters are not safe. The allurement of sensual 
pleasure becomes strong and subtle; and, having no in- 
ward satisfaction, we are prone to seek it from outside 
sources. The second peril is that with a gloomy spirit we 
fail to commend our gospel to the outside world. 

In contrast with a hard, cheerless religion, Jesus places 
emphasis on the joyful life as the secret of victory. His in- 
junction is: "Be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad counte 
nance: for they disfigure their faces." "If you worry you'll 
get a wrinkle. Why not smile and get a dimple?" 

Dr. Weatherhead relates his experience in a hospital. A 
companion was an old army officer. The nurse was very 
pleasant, but would sometimes say "damn" when she 
dropped the thermometer. Dr. Weatherhead said that the 
old chaplain wore the most woebegone expression and 
talked in such sepulchral tones that he would feign sleep 
when he saw the chaplain approaching. The army officer 
remarked that both the nurse and the chaplain were not 
what they should be, but that he had rather be in hell 
with the nurse than in heaven with the old chaplain. 
Some people are adepts at dispensing gloom. The incident 
is related of the man who visited his sick friend in an attic 
and said to him: "Bill, they will have a hard time getting 
your coffin down these stairs." The person is not uncom- 
mon who will say to a sick friend, "I knew a person with 
your symptoms, and he died in a short time." 

Dr. C. F. Wishart in a little volume, The Book of Day, 
relates the incident of a young Scotch preacher who lived 
up the river seven miles from his church. There came a 
Sabbath when the snowdrifts made the road impassable 
and the young man skated down the river to his church 
service. Haled before the bar of his presbytery for break- 


ing the Sabbath, his defense was that only by skating down 
could he keep his preaching appointment. The moderator 
said: "Young man, there is just one question. Did ye, or 
did ye not, enjoy the skatin'?" 

A faith that does not make for happiness is a false faith 
based on superstition and bad theology. The story is told 
that, when a man with a clerical appearance was asked if 
he was a preacher, he replied: "No, it is indigestion that 
makes me look this way." 

It is our obligation rightly to represent the joy and 
radiance of the Christian faith. The agent who offers a 
panacea for physical ailments should at least be a fair 
physical specimen and free from the ills which he claims 
his medicine will cure. It is a poor advertisement of the 
gospel for a professing Christian with a sad, woebegone 
expression and a melancholy tone to urge his faith upon 
another by virtually saying, "See what the gospel has done 
for me." The other person is prone to say, "Well, if it has 
done that to you, it might do it to me; and I beg to be 

It is only as we learn the secret of happiness that we can 
radiate happiness. The suggestive couplet expresses the 
difference between two types of people: 

Some people bring happiness wherever they go, 
Some people bring happiness whenever they go. 

It was rather an ambiguous statement when the speaker, in 
making a presentation gift to a pastor, said: "He was a 
diligent visitor among his people, and many homes were 
happy when he left." The meaning evidently was that the 
preacher radiated happiness. One's happiness is always 
enhanced as he brings joy to the lives of other people. 

Walk up and down the main street of your town, and 
watch the faces of the people as they pass you. The majority 
are haggard, worried, and nervous. 


The observation has been made that a new type of 
surgery has developed during the last few years— plastic 
surgery. People who acquire too many wrinkles go to 
such a surgeon and have their faces lifted. You may need 
to have your face lifted, but do not go to a plastic surgeon. 
Go to church instead and offer praises to God. Think 
through what you are doing to be thankful for. Go out 
and live it during the coming week, and your friends will 
hardly know you. For if you lift up your heart, you will 
lift up your face; and if you lift up your face, you will 
draw people from every walk of life to seek the secret of 
the good news you have found. 

Paul said, "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, 
Rejoice." Some Christians act as if they lived on a diet of 
sour pickles. They are afflicted with hyperacidity of the 
spirit. Genuine Christian experience so acts upon a man's 
mind that the barriers to the enjoyment of life are re- 
moved; and even in trouble and adversity and pain, his 
inner song sings on. He sees and knows the stern hardship 
of life; but, within, there is something which keeps alive 
the thrill and delight of living. He has gained the ability 
to enjoy life. 

It's better to shout than to doubt, 
It's better to rise than to fall, 
It's better to let the glory out, 
Than to have no glory at all. 


A further principal cause of worry is looking at life in 
the lump. Those of my readers who are ancient enough to 
have used as textbooks McGuffey's readers will remember 
the story of the old clock on the mantelpiece which sud- 
denly stopped. In the ensuing dialogue, it was found that 
the clock had become discouraged at having enumerated 


the number of times it would have to tick in a year— 
31,536,000 seconds in a year. When told that it would 
have to tick off only one second at a time, the old clock 
regained its morale and resumed its duties. 

My friend Dr. Gilbert T. Rowe is authority for the in- 
cident of the man who at forty-five counted the number 
of times he would have to tie and untie his shoes if he 
should live to be seventy years of age— and committed 

Dr. Rufus Jones told the story of a boy in the primer 
class who was being taught the alphabet. Pointing to a 
large A, the teacher said to him, "Say A." The boy did not 
answer. The teacher repeated the instruction, "Say A." 

Then the boy replied, "I am not going to say A; for, if I 
say A, you will want me me to go on and say B." There 
seemed to be an awful lot of letters between A and Z, 
and the prospect frightened him. 

No man is able to carry the weight of all the future, 
and how tragical are the breakdowns which result from 
the attempt. "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." 
And sufficient unto the day is the good thereof. It would 
require more than the strength of an Atlas to crouch 
under the burdens of the past and future, along with the 
required burdens of the present. We are under the obliga- 
tion of doing only the duty which belongs to the present 

Ezra, in The British Recorder, gives a story which fur- 
ther illustrates the truth we wish to impress: 

When Dr. Russell Maltby was in Brisbane, he told the folk 
a story which he said was true because he made it up himself. 
It was about Peter Blossom, an English plumber, who had the 
flu during a great freeze. When he was getting better he had a 
depression of spirits, and he sat in bed one night and calcu- 
lated what would happen if the thaw came. He calculated that 
there would be 2,156,891 burst pipes in the whole of England. 


In the morning the thaw came. A lady came to him and said, 
"Will you come as quickly as you can? My pipes have burst." 

Peter Blossom said to her: "Madam, do you know that there 
are 2,156,891 burst pipes in the whole of England?" 

The telephone rang, and someone else asked him to come 
along, and he told them the same thing, until he could not 
bear it any longer, and he said to himself: "This is too much. 
I will go and drown myself." On the way a man ran out of the 
house and saw Peter Blossom, and said: "You are the very 
man I want to see. There are twelve burst pipes in my house." 

Peter said to him: "I am on my way to drown myself. Do 
you know that there are 2,156,891 burst pipes?" 

The man took Peter by the collar, and said to him: "You 
will mend my pipes, and after that you can drown yourself in 
my bathtub if you like." 

So Peter went into the man's house and mended one pipe, 
and then he mended another, and he began to get into the 
spirit of it because it was his work, and he mended them all; 
and he went out of the house more cheerful. He went from 
house to house and mended pipes all day. At the end of the 
day he wended his way home to his wife, who said to him: 
"Come on in and get to bed, and I will bring you your supper." 

He said to his wife, "Give me a real supper." And he sat 
down and had a great supper and then went to bed. After his 
tale, Dr. Maltby pointed out where its moral lay, but you 
have discerned that. 

When we endeavor to carry the future responsibilities 
of even a week, we lose our self-confidence and emotional 
balance. The mind grows timid, the nerves become frayed, 
and we become weakened and defeated as we take on the 
heavy load. The successive resources will meet the suc- 
cessive burdens, but the resources are supplied only for 
the present needs. "As thy days, so shall thy strength be." 
We are not only to forget those things that are behind; 
w r e are not to anticipate those things which are in front of 
us. The grace of God is sufficient for our present troubles; 


but he does not supply us for all the troubles, real and 
imaginary, of the future. 


The present consists only of the present moment. To 
make the best and most of the present moment is the 
best preparation for the future. You come to where the 
road forks. Do not try to force a decision hastily. A state 
of suspense is not pleasant, but you can wait patiently. 
Some impulse, the working of the subconscious mind, 
some circumstance, the counsel of friends, or divine 
guidance will direct you at the moment when you have to 
decide. But it may not be a matter of two roads, but what 
appears to be a dead-end stop. You cannot see two steps 
ahead. You can see one step ahead; take that one. 

Dr. J. H. Jowett consulted Dr. C. E. Berry as to an im- 
portant decision. Dr. Berry asked, "When must you de- 

The reply was, "I have to decide by Friday." 

Then Dr. Berry said, "Wait until Friday, and you will 
know what to do." 

Carlyle wrote: " 'Do the Duty which lies nearest thee,' 
which thou knowest to be a Duty! Thy second Duty will 
already have become clearer." 

When we visualize all the work we must do as it 
stretches through the days, we become restless and fatigued. 
We are required to do only the work of the present mo- 
ment. We are sometimes up against a number of perplex 
ing problems, all pressing for solution. But we do not have 
to forecast and decide ahead of time; we are to retain our 
poise of spirit, and we will have clearness of insight when 
the moment for decision arrives. 

It looks as if it is only a blind alley ahead of us, but many 
blind alleys have opened up into thoroughfares as we 


reached them. In any event it is better to trust than to 

Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see 

The distant scene— one step enough for me. 

You will spare yourself much discomfort by taking the 
next step as the necessity arises. When confronted by 
some choice between alternative courses which you will 
have to make next month, you are not called upon to 
make the decision today or tomorrow. Let the issue rest 
and the way will doubtless clear when the time arrives to 

Jesus insistently warned us against worry over the fu- 
ture. He said: "Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: 
for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto 
the day is the evil thereof." The way to peace of mind is to 
do the best we can each day, and let God look after the 
things beyond our control. We are enjoined, "Cast thy 
burden upon the Lord," or, as the original indicates, roll 
the burden over on him. 

An aged Negro was given a ride in an automobile. He 
said, as he was getting out, "I didn't let all my weight 
down the whole trip." A man was taken for a ride in a 
wagon. The driver observed that the man was holding up 
his heavy luggage and asked why he did not put it down 
in the wagon. The reply was, "It was kind enough of you 
to carry me without having to carry my luggage." These 
stories are very illustrative of the way in which we fail to 
allow the Lord to relieve us of our burden. We are prone 
to load ourselves, not only with our yesterdays, but with 
all of our tomorrows. The entire lump of life is too heavy 
a burden for frail human shoulders. 


God broke our years to hours and days that 

Hour by hour 

And day by day 
We might be able all along 

To keep quite strong. 
Should all the weight of life 
Be laid across our shoulders, and the future, rife 
With war and struggle, meet us face to face 

At just our place, 

We could not go; 
Our feet would stop; and so 
God lays a little on us every day. 
And never, I believe, on all the way, 
Will burdens bear so deep 
Or pathways lie so steep 
But we can go, if by God's power, 
We only bear the burden by the hour. 

Chapter III 


Not only our worry but our work may prove to be 
destructive of happiness. If we are not properly adjusted 
to our work, the result is continuous unhappiness. 

What will deliver us from this is the setting before us in 
our work— as, indeed, in our life— the motive of service. 
To set up this motive implies that our work is of such 
character that it is possible in it to benefit others and the 
community generally. The lack of a high and stimulating 
motive results in the unhappiness of the worker. 

No hard and fast distinction can be drawn between 
sacred and secular work. Some scientists in the laboratory 
are more religious than some preachers in the pulpit. 

George W. Carver, the noted Negro scientist, made a 
remarkable contribution to human welfare in his work. In 
his application of scientific agriculture he increased the 
yield per acre of the sweet potato 500 per cent and pro- 
duced from it some two hundred products including flour, 
dyes, ink, mucilage, and many other items. He derived 
sixty products from the pecan. 

From the peanut he extracted more than three hundred 
products inclusive of milk, butter, cheese, oils, face lo- 
tions, soaps, rubber, linoleum, dyes, wood stains, and 
various other items. His discovery of the wealth of the 
peanut was his masterpiece, and the work in which he 
doubtless found most delight. He published a booklet 
showing one hundred and five ways of preparing the peanut 
for table use. He took the peanut to his laboratory and 



reverently asked, "God, what is a peanut, and why did you 
make it?" He explained all his researches thus: "When I get 
an inspiration, I go into the laboratory and God tells me 
what to do." 

A valuable contribution of Carver had to do with cotton. 
Sand was a great curse to the Alabama cotton farmer. The 
short-stalk cotton produced the fattest bolls, and the tall- 
stalk produced the leanest. Yet the short-stalk cotton left 
the bolls exposed to splashes of sand when it rained. By a 
crossing process, Professor Carver got the fat cotton bolls 
of the short-stalk cotton to grow on the tall stalks that 
lifted them out of the sand. Officially in Washington, the 
cross was recognized by the name of "Carver's Hybrid." 

From common clay Carver made a variety of wood stains, 
toilet powder of varying shades, and pigments for making 
dyes and paints. 

Carver found happiness in his work because he believed 
he was working in partnership with God. When asked by a 
reporter how he came to make his discoveries, Carver 
reverently dropped his head and said, "God Almighty 
gave them to me." This humble scientist, bought as a 
slave in his childhood for a race horse valued at $300, is a 
striking illustration of the possibility of finding happiness 
in our work. 

We can be truly happy only as we learn to be happy in 
our work and turn what might seem to be drudgery into 
delight. Since work is supposed to occupy the larger por- 
tion of one's waking hours, if we are miserable in our 
work, then we are miserable most of the time. When 
someone asked Edison why he worked so hard, he replied: 
"I have not worked a day in my life; I've just had a good 

Dr. Albert A. Michelson, the scientist, worked steadily in 
a study of the measurement of the speed of light. When 


asked as to his persistence, he replied, "If you really want 
to know, it is because the job is so much fun." 

One of the saddest mortals is the drudge. You find him 
everywhere, plodding on silently and persistently, but 
finding no pleasure in work and no joy in life. To fall in 
love with our work is the first rule for doing our work 
well and is also the condition of happiness. 

The most important thing for a human being to learn is 
how to live his life with a maximum of contentment and 
a minimum of friction. In the commonplace one is to find 
permanent satisfaction, and to regard the extraordinary 
and occasional sources of pleasure as matters by the way. 
The majority of mortals never learn this. Consequently 
most people are more or less peevish and discontented. 
The sum of wisdom and of intelligent experience consists 
in an appreciation of the ordinary events and in a proper 
discounting of the occasional. 

John Wesley, on being asked what he would do if he 
knew that he would die tomorrow night, answered, "I'd 
keep on doing what I've planned for tomorrow." This is 
the kind of faith that makes the present strong! 

In our everyday work we are to find gladness and satis- 
faction. The happiest wife and mother is the one who 
changes drudgery into delight. The happiest businessman 
is the one to whom business is fun. The happiest laborer 
is the one who finds some hidden attraction in his toil. 
Theodore Roosevelt, who was always cartooned with promi- 
nent teeth, when asked how he did so much work, replied, 
"I like my job." 


We must learn the lesson of finding happiness in our 
work. We must not vainly imagine that we shall find it 
at the end of some achievement or in some period of re- 
laxation. Happiness is a spirit that pervades all life as 


oxygen permeates the atmosphere, as salt permeates the 

Dr. P. Carnegie Simpson names the two essentials of 
happiness: one is something to do, and the other is someone 
to love. If we look at people within our own acquaintance 
whose lives are an illumination of what life really is, we 
find that they are people who are not idle but are doing 
something, and who are not selfish but loving. 

We need to treasure the words of Carlyle: 

Thou too, if ever a man should, shalt work while it is called 
To-day. For the Night cometh, wherein no man can work. 

All true Work is sacred; in all true Work, were it but true 
hand-labor, there is something of divineness. Labor, wide as 
the Earth, has its summit in Heaven. Sweat of the brow; and 
... of the heart; ... up to that "Agony of bloody sweat," 
which all men have called divinel O brother, if this is not 
"worship," then I say, the more pity for worship; for this is 
the noblest thing yet discovered under God's sky. Who art 
thou that complainest of thy life of toil? Complain not. Look 
up, my wearied brother; see thy fellow Workmen there, in 
God's eternity; surviving there, they alone surviving: sacred 
Band of the Immortals, celestial Bodyguard of the Empire of 

Further emphasis is given to the glory of work in the 
stanza of Henry van Dyke: 

This is the gospel of labour, ring it, ye bells of the kirk! 
The Lord of Love came down from above, to live with the 
men who work. 

We face the difficulty of idealizing work. When a man 
becomes a mere cog in the industrial machinery, life tends 
to become dull and colorless. How can the laborer see his 
work with a halo on it? There is a resentment that pro- 
duces discontent when the individual feels that he is not 


getting a fair share of the profits of industry. If the indi- 
vidual is to attain any measure of happiness, he must see 
beyond the drudgery and the mere bread-and-butter 
motive a service that ministers to human welfare. 

The admission must be made that it is difficult for the 
soul to grow in various kinds of work. More than a million 
miners are digging coal. More than four million farm 
hands are engaged in the drudgery of farm work. Four 
million clerks are selling a variety of items to customers, 
many of whom are disagreeable. Five million, the majority 
of whom are women, are occupied in the menial tasks of 
cleaning up homes and hotels. Fourteen million are toil- 
ing in steel mills and automobile factories. Four million 
workers are on railroad and bus lines. How can all this 
monotonous work minister to growth of character? How 
can these jobs minister to the art of living? 

Though work is a condition of happiness, yet we enu- 
merate it as one of the foes of happiness because so many 
people are unhappy in their work. When a man despises his 
job, life is made miserable. Our lifework is varied, hand- 
work and head-work, but the spirit in which we work de- 
termines its character. 

Who sweeps a room as for Thy laws, 
Makes that and the action fine. 

But how shall the dignity of labor be maintained when 
workmen are regimented, and each man's individual enter- 
prise is swallowed up in a totality? A possible contentment 
can come when one feels that his vocation, however special- 
ized and mechanical, ministers to the welfare of humanity. 
Unhappiness is the inevitable result of any kind of work 
when one's supreme aim is the accumulation of material 
things rather than making a helpful contribution to the 
community. When we recognize that we are workers to- 
gether with God, then our job, though obscure and re- 


stricted, is lifted up and exalted. It is then that the words 
of Jesus bring inspiration to our toil, "I must work the 
works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night 
cometh, when no man can work." 


"We are labourers together with God." 

Man is dependent on God. It is also true that God is 
dependent on man. 

The three necessary factors are the individual, the 
social group, and God. Life is not a solitaire game, but 
team play. It has been compared to rowing a boat. If you 
row your own boat in a race, it does not matter much to 
anybody else what you do. You can pull hard or you can 
loaf along; you take all the consequences. But in an eight- 
oared boat it is different. There you must pull your own 
weight in the boat, or the others will have to pull you. If 
you weaken, it means a harder job for those who pull the 
boat across the line. And life is not like a lake where 
everybody is pulling his own canoe. God did not arrange 
it that way. 

The co-operation of God and man has been finely ex- 
pressed by George Eliot: 

When any master holds 

'Twixt chin and hand a violin of mine, 

He will be glad that Stradivari lived, 

Made violins, and made them of the best. 

The masters only know whose work is good; 

They will choose mine, and while God gives them skill, 

I give them instruments to play upon— 

God choosing me to help Him. . . . 

My work is mine, 
And heresy or not, if my hand slacked 
I should rob God, since He is fullest good, 
Leaving a blank, instead of violins. . . . 


"Pis God gives skill, 
But not without men's hands; He could not make 
Antonio Stradivari's violins 
Without Antonio. 


In our modern days men move at a neck-breaking and 
heart-breaking pace. One of the most popular of American 
diseases is neurasthenia, a name euphonious enough to 
give to a beautiful flower or a charming girl. Overtension 
causes breakage and wreckage which could be avoided. 
One may claim that he is working strenuously in a good 
cause. But if the laws of nature and of God are violated, 
the penalty must be paid. Even if you should overwork 
yourself trying to get people to heaven, you may break 
under the strain and fall into the delusion that you are 
going to hell. The black imps will torment the saint who 
violates the laws of health as readily as the sinner. 

Some good people frequently say, "I had rather work 
myself to death than to rust out." It so happens, however, 
that we do not have to do either. Men say with an air of 
extra piety, "The devil never takes a vacation." I do not 
desire to imitate the satanic majesty. 

Men and women, however important their work, should 
enjoy necessary relaxation and reasonable leisure. In this 
way, they will be prepared for continuous service. You. 
should be able to ride a hobby, some diversion that 
differs widely from your regular work. The cultivation of a 
hobby brings needed rest and adds zest to life. We should 
avoid the hurry and flurry and break-neck speed. Physi- 
cians speak of "Americanitis" as indicating nervous ex- 
haustion. Amusements minister to happiness. If the bow 
is to keep its spring, it must be relaxed. Milton speaks of 

Sport, that wrinkled Care derides, 
And Laughter holding both his sides. 


Dr. Charles W. Eliot wrote, "There is a life-long satisfac- 
tion in productive labor, manual or mental, that is not 
pushed beyond the limits of strength." 

At the risk of making assertions that appear to be con- 
tradictory, a word may be said in praise of idleness. All 
work and no play makes Jack about as dull as all play and 
no work. If idleness is the devil's opportunity, then over- 
work is the doctor's opportunity. Many businessmen drive 
themselves at such a rapid pace that a heart attack takes 
them away when they are barely past middle age. 

Women live longer than men, despite the extra strain 
upon them of bearing children. Their greater longevity 
may well be a reflection of the lower tension for work per- 
formed at home instead of in an office where excitement 
and deadlines produce fear and higher blood pressure. 
Now that women are invading the factories as well as 
offices, they are beginning to feel the tensions of man's 
economic sphere and may not surpass man's longevity as 
much as in former generations. 

Taking the figures from 1876 to 1941, we find a gradual 
rise in the average age of both women and men even 
though the pressure of modern life is intensified. In 1876 
the average age of women was 44.6 years, and of men 41.4 
years. The average age increased until in 1941 the average 
age of women was 68.1 years, and of men 63.4 years. 

With the cultivation of leisure and relaxation, together 
with the increase of medical knowledge and skill, a length- 
ened earthly existence will follow. The sensible procedure 
is work, but not overwork. 


Employment in some useful task or occupation is neces- 
sary to happiness. Idlers, dudes, and social butterflies find 
little satisfaction in life and frequently talk of doing 
something to kill time. The most miserable people on 


earth are those who have nothing to do but enjoy life. It 
is worklessness that explains the sighs of weariness that 
arise from palaces. It is worklessness that explains the 
bitterness of the tramp. There is the unhappiness of both 
the idle rich and the idle poor. 

At a popular resort I met a woman and her older and 
wealthy husband. She remarked, "I keep my husband busy 
trying to find some new pleasure and recreation for me." 
One thing is certain, we can never be content in idleness. 
A young married woman was complaining constantly, 
always running to doctors, and seeking cures. She adopted 
two children and forgot her petty ills in caring for them. 
Now she is healthy and happy. 

The dawdlers and triflers and idlers do not find happi- 
ness. The rugged Carlyle said, "In God's name work, pro- 
duce something, and then you will consume your own 
smoke." The idle person is exposed to all manner of 
worries and fears. Since he is not occupied in useful work, 
imagination runs riot. Idleness destroys the possibility of 
happiness. However, life is essentially active, and the idle 
person is prone to seek activity in ways that are harmful 
to him and injurious to society. Overwork may break down 
the nerves, but underwork breaks down the morals. 

And yet despite the apparent contradiction there re- 
mains the necessity for idleness and leisure and relaxation. 


To have useful work to do and take joy in it lifts the 
soul and lightens the load and makes us colaborers with 

The pagan idea still lingers that God has nothing to 
do. The degraded idea of labor sprang out of slavery. Paul 
speaks of "the working of [God's] mighty power." The 
little girl looked up into the sky and asked, "Papa, what 
does God do all day long?" Jesus has answered the ques- 


tion, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." God is 
not inactive or passive. His is the energy that permeates 
our world. He is constantly transforming evil into good, 
and making the wrath of man to praise him. He brings the 
impact of his Spirit on our sluggish spirits and raises us to 
higher levels of life. 

Jesus found happiness in his work. He said to his disci- 
ples, "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and 
to finish his work." 

A poem which appeared in the Christian Herald in 
October, 1941, expresses in quaint style a philosophy of 
work which will prevent us from becoming "weary in 

Oh, you gotta get a glory 

In the work you do; 
A hallelujah chorus 

In the heart of you. 
Paint, or tell a story, 

Sing, or shovel coal, 
But you gotta get a glory, 

Or the job lacks soul. 

Oh, Lord, give me a glory. 

Is it much to give? 
For you gotta get a glory 

Or you just don't live! 

The Great, whose shining labors 

Make our pulses throb, 
Were men who got a glory 

In their daily job. 
The battle might be gory 

And the odds unfair, 
But the men who got a glory 

Never knew despair. 


Oh, Lord, give me a glory. 

When all else is gone, 
If you've only got a glory 

You can still go onl 

To those who get a glory 

It is like the sun, 
And you can see it glowing 

Through the work they've done. 
Oh, fame is transitory, 

Riches fade away, 
But when you get a glory 

It is there to stay. 

Oh, Lord, give me a glory 
And a workman's pride, 

For you gotta get a glory 
Or you're dead inside! 1 

1 Berton Braley. Copyright by Curtis Publishing Co. 

Chapter IV] 


There rests upon the mind the heavy weight of life's 
insoluble mysteries. We recognize the difference between 
seeing a fact and seeing into a fact, and we allow our- 
selves to be disturbed because we cannot see into the fact. 
We are beset by mysteries. 

It is a world of mystery, 
From every greenest blade that cuts the sod, 
To the great star-domed temple of our God, 
Pulsing with restless unknown power. 

We need to content ourselves with knowing in part 
and await the coming day when we shall know even as we 
are known. The mysteries which confront us and the 
doubts which arise result in restless and disturbed minds. 
Jesus did not say, "I have explained the world," but "I 
have overcome the world." 


The modern world is confronted by the mystery of 
magnitudes. We face the threefold infinitude of space, 
time, and power. It was quite a wrench to the mind of 
man to learn that, instead of the earth's being the stationary 
center of the universe, it was moving through space at the 
rate of twenty miles per second. 

The extent of the universe is estimated at six billion 
light years. A light year is the number of miles light 



travels in a year, which is six trillion miles. These figures 
multiplied give some indication of the vastness of the uni- 
verse. Sir James H. Jeans, the astronomer, compared the 
number of stars to the number of grains of sand on all 
the seashores of the world. The sun is a million times 
larger than our earth. But we are not to be worshipers of 

What if Betelgeuse is large enough for our earth to 
swing its orbit inside it? It is nothing but a gas bag. What 
if Antares makes our sun seem a mere candle flame? It is 
inferior to the human personality. When the pert skeptic 
says, "Astronomically speaking, man is negligible," the 
apt reply is, "Astronomically speaking, man is the astrono- 
mer." It is the mind of man that tracks the stars in their 
orbits and weighs and analyzes their substance. 

The cheap physical and material estimate of man is that 
the elements which constitute an average-sized body can be 
purchased at the drugstore for ninety-eight cents. If a man 
with this estimate of his value should be killed in a rail- 
road accident, the family should collect only his estimated 
value. If he should be about half killed, a claim should be 
made for only forty-nine cents. If an arm should be 
broken, a nickel would be ample remuneration. The 
supreme values of life are infinitely beyond the physical 
and the material. If the lifeless body of Jesus could have 
been dissected and analyzed to the minutest cell, no trace 
could have been found of the love that through the cen- 
turies has called forth the responsive love of countless 
millions, and that is lifting the world to higher heights. 


We find the same stamp of divine perfection on the 
atom as on the colossal heavenly bodies. The mystery of 
matter is insoluble, but it has been defined as tiny particles 
of nothing moving very rapidly. The apparently solid rock 


is no more substantial than moonshine. I am not referring 
to the familiar mountain product. 

Matter is said to consist of electrons and protons. The 
electrons in the sky are so strongly attracted to the protons 
below that they stream madly toward the earth. The sud- 
den leap from air to ground is a flash of lightning. What- 
ever an electron is, it is flying around in its own little 
solar system at tremendous speed of about ten thousand 
miles per second, and is doing all this traveling within 
spherical limits of about a hundred-millionth of an inch 
in diameter. The scientist tells us that a proton weighs 
about one septillionth of an ounce. An electron is lighter, 
about one two-thousandth of a proton. 

A lecturer in a rural town remarked, "Of course, you 
know what a corpuscle is like." The chairman replied, 
"Most of us do, but you had better explain for the benefit 
of those that have never been inside one." The scientist 
is more gifted in description than in explanation. We have 
the oft-repeated incident of the small boy who was asked 
to define a vacuum. He replied, "I have it in my head, but 
I can't explain it." 

A. S. Eddington gives a description of a scientist enter- 
ing a room: 

I am standing on the threshold about to enter a room. It is 
a complicated business. In the first place I must shove against 
an atmosphere pressing with a force of fourteen pounds on 
every square inch of my body, a weight of fifteen tons. I must 
make sure of landing on a plank travelling at twenty miles a 
second round the sun— a fraction of a second too early or too 
late, the plank would be miles away. I must do this whilst 
hanging from a round planet, head outward into space, and 
with a wind of ether blowing at no one knows how many miles 
a second through every interstice of my body. The plank has 
no solidity of substance. To step on it is like stepping on a 
swarm of flies. Shall I not slip through? No, if I make the 


venture one of the flies hits me and gives a boost up again; I 
fall again and am knocked upwards by another fly; and so on. 
I may hope that the net result will be that I remain about 
steady: but if unfortunately I should slip through the floor or 
be boosted too violently up to the ceiling, the occurrence would 
be, not a violation of the laws of Nature, but a rare coincidence. 
These are some of the minor difficulties. . . . 

Verily, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a 
needle than for a scientific man to pass through a door. And 
whether the door be barn door or church door, it might be 
wiser that he should consent to be an ordinary man and walk 
in rather than wait until all the difficulties involved in a really 
scientific ingress are resolved. 1 

The scientist informs us that, if all the protons and 
electrons of man's body were collected into one mass and 
all the unfilled space within them were eliminated, man 
would be reduced to a speck just visible with a magnifying 

In the ultimate analysis matter resolves itself into elec- 
tric forces. The food we eat is in reality electricity. Con- 
sidering the diet we live on, we should not be slow- 
motioned but as quick as lightning. 

With all the apparatus in the world at his disposal, 
finite man can never give an adequate statement of life, of 
light, of electricity, of the energy that propels all living 
organisms, of those unseen forces that make the movement 
and life of the universe. All that science can ever do is to 
find out how these forces work. As to the nature and es- 
sence of these propelling forces, science must always be 
content with a general statement. 

The scientist relies largely on inference. Inference is a 
mental process quite distinct from perception and intui- 
tion. The latter are direct modes of apprehension, the 

1 The Nature of the Physical World, The Macmillan Co., 1940. Used by 


former indirect. We infer the existence of atoms, of elec- 
trons and protons, of ether, and of numerous other objects 
of which we have no direct knowledge. 


My purpose is to mention them, without any effort to 
make any argument in favor of any particular theory. 

First, what is the nature of the universe? Professed 
theists differ as to the eternity of the material universe. 
The distinction, however, between theism and atheism 
has to do with the presence or absence of a pervading 
Purpose in the world. To the atheist, the world is the 
mere sport of the blind forces of chance. 

The world rolls round forever like a mill; 
It grinds out death and life and good and ill; 
It has no purpose, heart or mind or will. 

The theist explains an orderly universe as the ex- 
pression of Mind and Purpose, which is on the side of the 
good. The ultimate victory over evil is assured. 

I know that Truth and Right 
Have the universe on their side. 

Modern scientific knowledge has immeasurably ex- 
tended the universe both in space and time. The age of 
the earth is now stated in terms of multiplied millions of 
years. According to the traditional conception man ap- 
peared on the earth immediately after its creation. In the 
seventeenth century Dr. John Lightfoot declared, "Man 
was created by the Trinity on October 23, 4004 B.C. at 
nine o'clock in the morning." 

Second, how shall we think of God? We face the deep 
mystery of God. There has been a long succession of 
those who have denied the existence of God. A wide dif- 


ference exists in the conception of God from the vague 
impersonal idea of pantheism to the Christian faith in a 
personal God who is our Father. 

We may trust his love, but we cannot understand his 
infinity. "Canst thou by searching find out God?" We 
cannot understand the marvel of his creative activity: 
"How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past 
finding out." An intelligent Christian faith is possible 
in our day only by a willing acceptance of the scientific 
fact of the immensity of our universe. An enlarged con- 
ception of the material universe demands an enlarged 
conception of God. The mistake of some good people is 
that they endeavor to place a medieval God in the midst 
of a modern world. 

The main difficulty that besets the faith in the fatherly 
love of God is the mystery of human suffering. We have 
witnessed the indescribable horror of war, the agonizing 
mutilation and death of millions of men, and the dark 
tragedy which came to vast numbers of women and chil- 
dren. In our moments of despondency, the heart asks: 
Where is God? Is he interested in man? A friend suggested 
to Carlyle, who was in a mood of gloom, that God was 
still to be reckoned with. Carlyle replied: "Yes, but he 
does nothing." 

Some considerations which throw light on the dark 
problems of life may be emphasized. It is impossible to 
have a good without a possible evil. It is impossible to have 
a Christ without a possible crucifixion. We cannot have 
freedom to choose the good without the possibility of 
choosing the evil. It is impossible to have the reign of 
natural and moral law without the possibility of the law's 
being violated. It is impossible to have the solidarity of 
human society with its possibility of happiness without 
the possibility of suffering. 

Some approach to the solution of our difficulty comes 


from a recognition of a necessary limitation of God. As 
indicated, three factors are inherent in our world order: 
the free will of man, the reign of law, and social solidarity. 
If man were not endowed with this freedom of will, he 
would not be a man but a robot. With this freedom, he is 
free to choose evil which results in suffering. If God had 
not established natural and moral law, it would be a 
topsy-turvy world in which progress and development 
would not be possible. But in a world of law, pain and 
suffering follow a violation of law. If there were 
not social solidarity, men would exist as unrelated in- 
dividuals—an idea which is not really conceivable. The 
only possible conception of life is interrelatedness. This 
involves the fact that a person may bring either help or 
hurt to other members of the family or society. Apart from 
these three factors, we would not have a world order in 
which character and happiness are possible. But with 
these factors, there is the inevitable possibility of evil and 
suffering. You cannot have it just one way. There is the 
inevitable antithesis. 

No solution of the mystery of suffering entirely satisfies. 
But the critics of things as they are have never been able 
to draw a constructive outline of a different and better 
world order. These critics express regret that they were 
not called into consultation, since they could have offered 
valuable suggestions touching the methods of God in the 
world. But in a world where there would be no possibility 
of man's sin enhancing the misery of the world, there would 
likewise be no possibility of man's goodness enhancing 
the happiness of the world. This idea is emphasized as 
affording at least a partial solution of the tragedies of time. 
We shall have no perfect solution until we pass beyond the 
veil, and the light of the eternal world shall remove all 
doubt and darkness. 

With full recognition of the limitation of the human 


mind in comprehending the mind of God, yet we may 
venture to assert that some limitation belongs to God him- 
self. In the first place must we not limit the absolute 
omnipotence of God in order to retain faith in his good- 
ness? Must we not choose between foreordination and a; 
future with some possibilities open? It appears to be evi-; 
dent that God places a limitation on his power in con- 
ferring on man moral freedom. In creating self-determining 
will God limits his own power. The omnipotence of God 
does not mean that he can do the impossible. According 
to Borden P. Bowne it means that he is able to "do the do- 
able." A twofold task of theology is to reconcile the power 
of God with his goodness, and to reconcile the power of 
God with the moral freedom of man. 

We come next to the question of the omniscience of 
God and his absolute foreknowledge. We have more readily 
accepted a limitation of the power of God than a limitation 
of his knowledge. Since the power of God is limited by 
the free will of man, the foreknowledge of God is likewise 
limited by man's free will. If God cannot do that which 
is not do-able, neither can he know that which is not know- 

Is not some future choice of a free individual unknow- 
able? If a free moral act of man can be known of God in ad- 
vance of its happening, it is in principle predetermined. 
The objection may be urged that foreknowledge is not 
causative, but this does not free us from fatalism. The 
person says: "I am destined to do nothing contrary to the 
divine foreknowledge. Why should I burden myself with 
a sense of responsibility?" We must either deny human 
freedom or modify our views of divine foreknowledge. 

William James in a well-known illustration presents 
God and man as engaged in a game of chess. God does not 
know each separate move of his weaker opponent, but he 
does know the final outcome of the game. God does not 


know the varied moral acts of a world of free individuals, 
but he does know the ultimate course and culmination of 
human affairs. To be guided by our own consciousness and 
to accept freedom as a fact afford a line of certainty which 
is followed by inescapable inferences. Those necessary post- 
ulates are the limitations both of divine omnipotence and 
divine omniscience. This is not a loss but a gain. Faith in 
the goodness of God and in the moral freedom of man 
are made secure. 

The third mystery is in the psalmist's question, "What is 
man, that thou art mindful of him?" One answer is, "Thou 
hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast 
crowned him with glory and honour." The skeptical an- 
swer of Ecclesiastes is, "Man hath no preeminence above a 
beast. . . . All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and 
all turn to dust again." 

Two distinct views exist as to man's origin and begin- 
ning. The traditional view is that Adam, the father of the 
race, was created full-grown by the hand of God. The 
scientific idea is the evolutionary process by which man 
developed out of a lower order of life. 

Again the mystery of man's mind is beyond our under- 
standing. Some philosophers hold that we have no innate 
ideas, that at birth the soul is an empty tablet which re- 
ceives impressions from the outside, and that all ideas come 
to the individual through some experience. On the other 
hand, there are advocates of the theory that ideas are innate 
in the mind and require only the stimulation of sensations 
to bring them to consciousness. 

A further agelong controversy concerning man is that 
of freedom or determinism. The theory very early had 
vogue that the Fates wove a web of destiny around man 
from which he could not escape. Even man's will was 
determined. All the actions of man were the results of fac- 
tors over which he had no control. The opposing opinion is 


that man is able to choose, or else there would be no possi- 
bility of either good or evil. Life becomes meaningful only 
when we accept the verdict of our consciousness as to our 
freedom of choice. 

We have the opposing theories as to the continuance of 
the human personality after death. The materialistic posi- 
tion is that the personality does not survive the disintegra- 
tion of the body. The fact of life itself— its origin— is an 
insoluble mystery, and to live forever is not any greater 
mystery than that of beginning to live. One little cell unites 
with another little cell to form one cell. In this one cell 
are stored up some of the physical and mental characteris- 
tics of parents and grandparents and great grandparents 
back through the generations. 

A sophomore is reported to have submitted a manuscript 
to a Harvard professor in which he said: "I am going to 
write a history of life; I have just finished my first treatment 
of that subject, in which I have explained the universe." 
The supposition is that an increase of knowledge removed 
this presumption. 


Men have always wondered, and worshiped, and prayed, 
and lived upon the spiritual forces in our world, inde- 
pendently of any adequate explanation. 

Someone has given to us a parable of two chicks. The two 
chicks were housed in eggs which lay side by side under 
the warm sheltering feathers of the mother hen. They had 
reached the stage of growth when there came to both of 
them a strong impulse to break through the shell. A conver- 
sation took place through the thin shells which separated 
them. One was an agnostic chick, and the other a Christian 
philosopher. The agnostic chick said: "I feel an almost 
irresistible impulse to break my shell today. I have an 
inward assurance of light, air, food, a larger world, and 


a freer realm of life. But since I have never seen and do not 
know of this other world, it would be a very foolish thing 
to tear down the only house I know anything about. I 
will take counsel of prudence and not break through the 
; shell." 

The chick that was a Christian philosopher said: "I do 

■ not know anything of any world outside this shell. But 

; there burns within me an instinct which tells me that 

j I should make the venture; that there is a life beyond; and 

that, anyway, to remain here at last means death. I do not 

see how feet, wings, eyes, and bill are to come into play, 

but I feel that assurance of a larger life with boundless 

horizons; so here goes for the venture." 

A beautiful little chick was soon basking in the sunlight. 
The busy housewife came out to look after the chickens 
and found in the deserted nest a single egg. She cracked 
it, and there lay before her the stiff dead body of the ag- 
nostic chick. 

In the realm of the spiritual we make the venture. 

Nothing before, nothing behind; 

The steps of faith 
Fall on the seeming void and find 

The rock beneath. 

We must make the venture. Faith makes the venture in the 
absence of absolute certainty, or it would not be faith. This 
venture of faith is expressed by Browning in: 

Two points in the adventure of the diver, 
One— when, a beggar, he prepares to plunge; 
One— when, a prince, he rises with his pearl? 

The experiment of faith results in the joy of a spiritual 


O World, thou choosest not trie better partr 
It is not wisdom to be only wise, 
And on the inward vision close the eyes, 

But it is wisdom to believe the heart. 1 

The denial of the spiritual is to transform life into a 
hopeless riddle. It is to hold that the worst in our world 
rests on reality and is in conformity with eternal truth, 
while the best in our world rests on the rotten founda- 
tion of a falsehood. The only escape from such contradic- 
tions is an unshaken confidence in the reliability of our 
spiritual consciousness. An element of mystery remains in 
the mind; but if the heart, the love, the longing, and the 
highest intuitions and aspirations find their object— their 
resting place in the one sought— the life is at rest. 

I have a life in Christ to live 
But ere I live it must I wait 
Till learning can clear answer give 
To this and that book's date. 

I have a life in Christ to live 
I have a death in Christ to die, 
And must I wait till science give 
All doubts a full reply? 

Other things may wait until that glad day when the mists 
of earth have lifted, and we see the light within the cloud, 
and we shall know even as we are known. But even now 
we may know him, and rest our tired minds and aching 
hearts upon his love. 

1 George Santayana, "Sonnets, 1883-1893— III," Poems, Charles Scribners' 
Sons, 1923. 

Chapter V 


Charles Kingsley once wrote the following recipe for 
being miserable: "Think much about yourself; about 
what you like; what you want; what respect people ought 
to pay you; and what people think of you." The unhappiest 
\ people in the world are the self-centered people. The best 
in us is killed by too much attention to ourselves. General 
Booth, of Salvation Army fame, said, "Damnation comes 
from mirrors; salvation from windows." Jesus told his 
followers to find themselves by forgetting themselves. If a 
man can give himself to a cause outside himself, bigger 
than himself, and do it without thought of the conse- 
quences, he will find a sure cure for self-centeredness. 

Through a cultivation of this spirit we can attain the 
supreme satisfaction of life. Happiness and selfishness 
cannot grow on the same stem. Our happiness is found in 
helpful service to others. Henry Drummond said: "Half 
the world is on the wrong scent in the pursuit of happiness. 
They think it consists in having and getting and in being 
served by others; it consists in giving and in serving 

George W. Chiids, the wealthy Philadelphia editor, a 
man of extensive charity, declared that doing good was the 
greatest pleasure of his life. Mr. Scruggs, a wealthy Meth- 
odist of St. Louis, with the gladness of his soul shining 
through his face, pointed out his church to a friend and 
said, "Thank God, I put more money into that building 
than into my own residence." D. K. Pearson, the bene- 



factor of small colleges, who gave millions to struggling 
and worthy institutions of learning, declared that giving 
was the greatest fun of his life. He wished that other men of 
wealth might learn the lesson of joy in giving. 

Instead of making any direct search for happiness, if in 
the unselfish spirit of Christ you endeavor to make other 
people happy, your own unhappiness will be forgotten. 


This incident is only an exceptional instance of the 
egocentricity of a missionary. A church sent out a mission- 
ary to China. The contributors to the missionary's support 
thought it would be a good idea to supply him with a 
printing press and a font of type so that he might use it 
in his work and also print a paper which would bring back 
home news of the progress of his mission. When the first 
issue was printed, it stopped abruptly in the middle with 
the announcement: "I regret that it is impossible to finish 
this issue, but we have run out of capital Z's." There are 
too many capital J's in the thoughts and aspirations of most 

of us. 

We readily pardon a child for its emphasis on the per- 
sonal pronoun of the first person. A father heard his little 
daughter singing on her birthday. 

Happy birthday to me, 
Happy birthday to me, 
Happy birthday, dear Susan, 
Happy birthday to me! 

A disposition that is pardonable in a child is repulsive 
in a grown-up. "When I was a child, I spake as a child, 
I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when 
I became a man, I put away childish things." It is ex- 
pected of a mature person that he shall pass the stage of 


The prayer that Jesus taught his disciples to pray frees 
the soul from all petty selfishness. The first part is cen- 
tered on God. It is not that our name may be honored, 
that we have rulership, and that our will may be done. 
The prayer is that God's name may be revered, that the rule 
of his kingdom may come, and that his will may be done 
on earth as in heaven. 

The petitions of the second part of the prayer lift us 
out of self. The pronouns are "our," "us," never "mine" 
and "me"; not my daily bread, my forgiveness, and my 
deliverance from evil. The petitions do not center in self. 
The others are included; and the prayer is for our daily 
bread, the forgiveness of our trespasses, and our victory 
over the evil one. 

The words of Paul in his Epistle to the Philippians 
according to the Moffatt translation are: "Never acting for 
private ends . . . , but . . . each with an eye to the interests 
of others as well as to his own." The egocentric person 
keeps self always in the center. 

Somewhere I picked up the lines: 

Of all my mother's children, 

I love myself the best, 
When I have been provided for 

Then I will think of the rest. 

An expanding personality is possible only to the unselfish 
spirit. The person whose thoughts are mainly centered on 
himself is occupied with a small subject. A man is bound to 
be unhappy if he lives in a world whose center is self. 

Herr Hitler afforded a striking example of the bloated 
ego. A reader reported that in one speech Hitler used the 
personal pronoun of the first person eighty-seven times. 
In conversation people do not want to hear you talk ex- 
clusively about yourself. If you want the other person to 
be interested, talk to him about himself. This rule works 


well in courtship. It is a good way to secure a husband or 
wife. The observation has been made that a gossip is one 
who talks to you about other people, a bore is one who 
talks to you about himself, and a brilliant conversation- 
alist is one who talks to you about yourself. In a social 
group you need not bother to talk about yourself— the 
group will take care of that when you leave. For this reason, 
I prefer not to leave a company before it has dispersed. 

The egoists have an inordinate desire for personal recog- 
nition and personal profit. Egocentricity is a common 
infirmity. Its sole interest is one's self and one's own 

The word picture of Sir Walter Scott is pertinent. 

The wretch, concentred all in self, 

Living, shall forfeit fair renown, 

And, doubly dying, shall go down 

To the vile dust, from whence he sprung, 

Unwept, unhonour'd, and unsung. 


The unselfish spirit does not involve a disregard of one's 
self. It is essential that we should cultivate our self-respect, 
self-esteem, and highest self-interest. Jesus enjoined not 
only a love for one's neighbors, but a love for one's self. 
"Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." This self-love 
is far removed from self-centeredness. As you truly love 
yourself, you put self under the mastery of God. When 
you are self-centered, you put self under the mastery of 

Happiness can come only through human relationships. 
Jesus told us that, if we are to know and appreciate the 
values of life, they are to be found in loving other people. 
Therefore, true happiness should be found through co- 
operation with the immutable laws of God, which are 
based on love. 



First of all is an undue self-consciousness which dooms 
one to misery. 

The centipede was happy quite 

Until a toad in fun 
Said, "Pray, which leg goes after which?" 
That worked her mind to such a pitch, 
She lay distracted in a ditch, 

Considering how to run. 

There are those who live as in a mirror maze, seeing only 
self whichever way they turn. 

We reach our best in the absence of self-consciousness. 
The self-conscious speaker is on the way to failure. The 
vital organs most perfectly perform their function when 
we do not bring them within the range of consciousness. 
The heart does its best work when we are not conscious 
that we have a heart. The heart beats 72 times a minute, 
103,680 times a day, and 37,843,200 times a year. It gener- 
ates enough power every twenty-four hours to lift a ton 
82 feet in the air, generating enough power in a year to 
lift 365 tons up to a height of 82 feet. When you reach the 
age of fifty— presuming that you have not yet reached it— 
your heart will have put forth sufficient power to lift 18,250 
tons to a height of 82 feet. If we brood solicitously over 
the herculean task, the heart will fail in its work. Do not 
become discouraged; the heart does not have to do all 
this at once. We must avoid overmuch attention to the de- 
partment of the interior. 

Self-pity follows in the wake of self-centeredness. The 
self-pitiers imagine that they bear the maximum of grief 
and that they have struck the rock bottom of suffering, 
and regard themselves as the most unfortunate of all 
individuals. They are so taken up with their own mis- 
fortune that they have no thought for the troubles of others, 


In making a bid for the pity of others, they succeed only 
in making themselves disagreeable. The confirmed hypo- 
chondriac produces the imaginary ailment which he de- 

An old woman related to me a true incident which oc- 
curred in her own neighborhood. A doctor was called to 
see a woman who could not get out of bed. The doctor 
took the husband out of the room and told him that he 
must give his wife some sort of shock. When the husband 
returned to the room, the wife with her usual wail said, 
"I'm going to die." 

The husband replied, "I am glad you mentioned it. I 
have been thinking that I could marry Hattie, our maid, 
who would be kind to the children." 

With that the wife for the first time in weeks jumped out 
of the bed and angrily replied, "No, you won't do any 
such thing. Hattie is too fast anyway." 

The once bedridden wife renewed her strength and 
became an active member of the family. 

A further offshoot of egocentricity is supersensitiveness. 
The limerick describes the opposite emotion: 

There was a young man so benighted, 

He didn't know when he was slighted. 

He went to a party 

And ate just as hearty 

As if he'd been really invited. 

The supersensitive person is extremely sensitive over 
all slights and offenses, both real and imaginary. In a 
social gathering the sensitive individual detects a couple 
smiling and looking in her direction. She becomes agitated 
and says to her companion: "You see those people looking 
this way. They are talking about me, and I know just as 
well as if I heard them that it is not anything good. I never 
did like them anyway, and I dislike them now more than 


ever." If it so happens that I am in a social gathering and 
see people smiling and looking toward me, I feel elated 
and say to myself: "Well, I cannot hear what they are say- 
ing; but I know as well as if I heard it that it is something 
good, and I do appreciate it." I have seen public speakers 
irritated over any conversation in an audience. I never 
become offended. I do not hear the conversation, but I am 
practically certain that one person said to the other that 
he made a good point, and the reply was, "He surely did." 
Of course I might be mistaken, but I prefer making that 
kind of mistake. 

Another accompaniment of self-centeredness is spiritual 
pride. Jesus pictures the self-centered Pharisee at prayer— 
his self-praise, his self-complacency, his self-satisfaction, his 
self-righteousness, and his self-consciousness. For five times 
in his self-congratulation the "I" rings out. The injunction 
of Jesus "Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand 
doeth," may be freely construed, "Do not shake hands 
with yourself." 

The self-centeredness of the rich fool as described by 
Jesus in the parable is not a matter of spiritual but rather 
of material pride. "I have no room where to bestow my 
fruits." He does not have God even on the far horizon of 
his life. "I will say to my soul Soul, thou hast much goods 
laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and 
be merry." Eleven times he uses the personal pronoun of 
the first person. 

Self-centeredness leads to self-deception. Self-deception 
begins when a man rationalizes his selfish desires and cul- 
minates in self-justification. "Ye are they which justify 

The modern church is no longer poor after the manner 
of the apostolic church but has vast material interests and 
resources. It was a searching and caustic comment of 
George Bernard Shaw that the Church of England would 


give up all thirty-nine articles of its creed before it would 
renounce one thirty-ninth of its property. This would have 
likewise the same application to other churches. 

Macaulay said that the theory of gravitation would not 
yet be accepted if it had interfered with vested interests. 

According to Paul, "The god of this world hath blinded 
the minds." With one voice all whose judgments are per- 
verted by selfish interests exclaim, "Great is Diana of the 

Rationalization from self-interest is very manifest in 
some of the advocates of militarism. The matter of profit 
leads the devotees of Mars to place a halo on his iron brow. 
If war should result in financial loss rather than gain to the 
munitions makers, they would become such pink pacifists 
that by comparison Gandhi would look like a rampant 

An entirely different result of self-centeredness is a hurt- 
ful process of introspection. The admonition of Paul is, 
"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith." But a 
self-examination that is spiritually wholesome is altogether 
different from the morbid type of introspection which is 
constantly feeling the spiritual pulse. To examine ourselves 
is to test ourselves and to see wherein we fall short of the 
Word of God and the perfect example of Jesus. It results 
in bringing the life into a larger measure of conformity 
to the perfect life. 

On the other hand, an introspective analysis of the emo- 
tions with a constant questioning of the motives interferes 
with spiritual growth, just as digging up a plant to look 
at its roots stunts the growth and may even destroy the life 
of the plant. 

I think it was Horace Bushnell who pictured a man as 
morbidly introspecting his love for his mother and ques- 
tioning himself as to this love. At last he reached the con- 
clusion, "I do not love my mother." 


In the distinctively spiritual realm of faith in God and 
love for God, a self-centered analysis produces the pitiable 
tragedy of the loss of faith and love. 

It is altogether possible to be too severe on ourselves. 
Excessive introspection falls into morbidity in the analysis 
of our motives. Some people are better than they think they 
are. The incident is given of Lincoln that he rescued a 
pig which was caught in a rail fence, He said afterward, 
"If I had not done it, I could not have slept that night." 
He finally concluded that he rescued the pig for the sake 
of getting a good night's sleep. In reality, there was no 
selfish motive. The act was prompted by his kind and gen- 
erous nature. By constantly exploring our "mental in- 
wards" we may come to question our most unselfish mo- 

Charles Lamb said in effect that it was most gratifying 
to do a good deed secretly and then have it found out on us. 
We should not, however, impute to ourselves selfishness 
because we relish the good opinion of other people. We 
need the spiritual discipline of self-examination, but not 
the morbid scrutiny that attributes a selfish motive to our 
most generous deeds. It is the doctrine of Satan, as declared 
in the case of Job, that there is no such principle as dis- 
interested goodness. 


First of all, we should exercise a self-criticism. Judge 
Logan Bleckly, a noted Georgia jurist, was once asked the 
secret of his success. He replied, "I do not consider myself 
successful, but the explanation of whatever success I may 
have achieved, I attribute to the practice of self-criticism." 

A small boy had a friend in a neighbor, who said, "Now 
I am going away for awhile; and, if you are a good boy, 
I will give you a dollar." 


On his return after two or three days he said to the 
boy, "Well, how about the dollar?" 

The honest boy shrugged his shoulders and said, "Just 
gimme a nickel." 

If people were thus honest with themselves, they would 
be saved from many failures. 

The psychologist William McDougall made the state- 
ment that a healthy self-criticism is the best safeguard 
against neurotic trouble. A healthy self-criticism is in- 
dispensable to a happy life. Some of our deepest difficulties 
arise because we are too easy on ourselves. We are forever 
making excuses, not only to others, but to ourselves as well. 
We know we have faults, but we are not willing to admit 
them, even to our friends and families. But what is more 
serious, we are unwilling to admit them to ourselves. We 
push our faults from us, turn our backs upon them, and 
do our utmost to forget them. We succeed only in pushing 
these unacknowledged faults down deep inside of us, where 
they frequently form the beginning of mental disturb- 
ances which may play havoc with us in later years. 

We should have stated times when we can get ourselves 
off into a secluded corner somewhere so that we can talk 
to ourselves about our faults, so that we can say to our- 
selves: "Now I have you so you cannot get away from me, 
and I am going to tell you just what I think about you. 
You are vain; you are jealous; you are hotheaded; you are 
self-centered; you are stingy; you are envious; and it is 
high time you began to deal firmly with yourself." 

If we were as expert in criticizing ourselves as we are in 
passing criticism on others, we would make a long stride 
forward. This habit of faultfinding usually springs out of 
a feeling of inferiority caused by an unrecognized sense 
of guilt that can be compensated for only by finding fault 
with others. Thus we create the illusion of personal su- 
periority. It is much easier to criticize than to construct. 
Many newspaper columnists have nothing to write about 


unless they find someone to besmirch. We can carry this 
quality into every avenue of life. Church people criticize 
the choir, the clergyman, and the sexton. Nonchurchgoers 
point the finger of scorn at what they call the hypocrisy of 
religious people. Thus they absolve themselves self-right- 

The habit of criticizing others blocks our own progress, 
but the criticism of one's self is the secret of self-develop- 
ment and assurance of victory over egocentricity. Criticism 
is a backslidden word. At first it was passing judgment us- 
ually in the way of commendation. By degrees it has come 
to signify faultfinding. 

We should cultivate, in the second place, an interest 
in other people. Paul exhorts, "Look not every man on 
his own things, but every man also on the things of others." 
Jude describes the opposite type as "feeding themselves 
without fear." 

We are to enjoy the joy of others. "Rejoice with them 
that do rejoice." We are to enter into the sorrows of others, 
"Weep with them that weep." We are to be glad when good 
fortune comes to others— "in honour preferring one an- 

All too often our ears are so alert to hear words of praise 
bestowed on us that we forget to praise someone else. The 
preacher is very prone to desire to receive praise rather 
than to give it. You might test your memory by recalling 
some of the kind things you said about your neighbor, or 
some of the kind things you said to your neighbor, or some 
of the kind deeds you did to your neighbor. A small boy 
in Sunday school was asked by the teacher what lesson he 
received from the story of the Good Samaritan. He replied, 
"The lesson I got from it is that, when you are in trouble, 
your neighbors ought to help you." This is the old note 
of emphasis on self-interest. 

Our emphasis should be on what we may do for others 


rather than on what others may do for us. Here is involved 
the whole matter of a clear guidance in life. If you think of 
your self-interest, you become perplexed and confused as 
to what course you should pursue. You know not which 
way to turn. You walk in darkness. As you think of your 
duty, the way becomes clear. "Thine ears shall hear a word 
behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it." 

The declaration of Jesus is: "The light of the body is 
the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body 
shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole 
body shall be full of darkness." Success will be achieved in 
the search for good cheer as we place the emphasis upon 
our duties rather than upon our rights. People refuse often 
to give us our rights, and we have no way of compelling 
them. Our duties, however, are not restricted by outside 
limitations. No combination of evil forces can prevent us 
from doing our duty. An emphasis on duties or rights 
marks the whole wide distance between a happy and a 
miserable life. "If ye know these things, happy are ye if 
ye do them." 

The emphasis of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount 
and the note that runs through all of his words and works 
is that we are blessed as we minister to others rather than as 
we receive a ministry from others. As we contend merely 
for our rights from others, we become miserable. As we 
give ourselves in performing our duty to others, we achieve 

Think more of what you may do for others than of what 
others may do for you. The note that runs through all the 
teachings of Jesus is to think more of your duties than 
of your rights. Some people dwell constantly on the service 
others owe them. Others think of the service they owe other 
people. This difference is as wide as the difference between 
selfishness and unselfishness, as wide as the difference be- 
tween misery and happiness. The people who lay the stress 


on their rights are supersensitive, contentious, continually 
aroused over some offense— real or imaginary— and conse- 
quently unhappy. The people who place the emphasis on 
their duties and the service they may render to others have 
neither time nor disposition to become offended. 

We need not complain that life has no joy so long as 
there is someone whom we may help and whose burden we 
may lighten. 

The road to unhappiness is to lay stress on our rights. 
People are naturally stubborn; they will not give us our 
rights. If they would, there is no telling what we might be 
or where. We might have risen so fast and so high that we 
would have knocked the bottom out of the top. We achieve 
happiness as we lay stress on our duties. 

A woman complained to her pastor: "I have been a 
member of this church for three years, and very few mem- 
bers have spoken to me. I am going to quit." 

The pastor replied, "You have been a member three 
years. How many have you spoken to?" 

She said, "Oh, I never thought of that." 

As a member of the church, the secret of your happiness 
or unhappiness depends on whether you are thinking of 
what others can do for you or what you can do for others. 
If you contend for your rights, you run into a blind alley; 
you are hedged in. But when it comes to duties, you are on 
a thoroughfare which nobody can block. 

Dr. Walter Russell Bowie in his volume Remembering 
Christ relates a most illustrative contrast. A few years ago 
two men left messages to the members of their families. One 
of them gave in substance the instructions to do nothing 
to endanger the security of their property. The second one 
wrote: "My son, do not cry. Be strong to comfort your 
mother. Do not seek happiness for yourself. Step down to 
help the weak ones who cry for help." 

The writer of the first of these two messages, who was 


concerned about the rights of his property, was a promi- 
nent businessman of international reputation and was 
highly respected by the churches. The one who wrote the 
second message urging on his son his duty to "the weak 
ones who cry for help" was a man whom thousands be- 
lieved to be innocent of the crime of which he was accused, 
but who was executed in Charlestown, Massachusetts pris- 
on, for a crime which to the last he denied having com- 
mitted. His name was Nicola Sacco. He was hated and 
fearer because he was a communist. Nevertheless, the fact 
remains that the communist who died in an electric chair 
blazed with a passion of pity for the poor when he wrote to 
his little son, "Step down to help the weak ones who cry 
for help." 

In contrast to those words the message of the great busi- 
nessman, whose chief concern was that his heirs should not 
endanger the security of their property, seems pitifully 
cheap and sordid. The second man, regarded as disrep- 
utable, placed emphasis on a duty to the disadvantaged. 
The first man, highly respected, placed emphasis on the 
rights of his pampered heirs. 

We are to place the emphasis on our duties rather than 
rights in all of life's manifold relationships from the home j 
to international affairs. Happiness belongs to the home 
when each member of the family is more intent on what I 
he can do for the other members than what they can do 
for him. 

Peace will prevail in industry as employers and em- 
ployees alike think more of their duties and less of their 
rights. The idea with some today is that the relationship : 
of an employer and his employee "shall be about as cordial 
as that between a bulldog and a back-fence tomcat." 

In international relationships, the strife and misery and 
inconceivable wretchedness of our world today result from 
misplaced emphasis of the nations. They have placed sole 


emphasis on their rights and have neglected their duties. 

Because our political leaders have regarded Jesus as a 
visionary leader, they have missed the way to harmony and 
happiness and peace among the nations. The way of Jesus 
is the only practical way, and he would save uc, not merely 
from some future hell, but from hell in the world. 

The selfish philosophy of life is responsible for abject 
poverty, wretched slums, industrial strife, and the mass 
murder of war. The nations have waded through seas of 
blood, destroying millions of lives and billions of property, 
because they have not discovered that, not the strife of 
nations, but the brotherhood of nations is the only work- 
able principle. Men have been obsessed by military pomp, 
and the ladies by uniforms and brass buttons. The whole 
wretched business is insane and criminal. 

The insanity and criminality are not to be accredited to 
the soldiers who were thrown irresistibly into the bloody 
conflict. The blame belongs to the selfish and muddle- 
headed political leaders of the nations who in their di- 
plomacy sow the dragon's teeth for future wars. 

The nations contended for their rights, or supposed 
rights, and ignored their duties and came to the edge of 
the precipice. Nothing is practical in our world except 
the Christian way. The world has tried hatred, greed, 
revenge, and selfishness and has come to the brink of perdi- 
tion. It is curious that we must stand up in the twentieth 
century and plead with the people who bear his name that 
Jesus Christ is not a visionary leader, that his way is the 
living way, and that our only safety is to trust and follow 

And in despair I bowed my head; 
"There is no peace on earth," I said; 

"For hate is strong, 

And mocks the song 
Of peace on earth, good will to men!" 


Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: 
"God is not dead; nor doth he sleepl 

The Wrong shall fail, 

The Right prevail, 
With peace on earth, good will to men!" 

The one indispensable remedy for the selfish disposition 
is divine forgiveness. 

Self-centeredness is sin. Sin is ever a discordant element 
and is destructive of happiness. Man is so constituted that 
he cannot live in sin without the visitation of remorse and 
the pangs of a guilty conscience. In spite of an outward 
serenity, the minds of evil people are like the waves of a 
troubled sea. All efforts to minimize sin, to deny its real- 
ity, to deaden the conscience, fail at last. "There is no 
peace, saith my God to the wicked." Happiness is possible' 
only from the joyful assurance of divine forgiveness. Mase-; 
field says in "The Everlasting Mercy": 

I did not think, I did not strive, 

The deep peace burnt my me alive; 

The bolted door had broken in, 

I knew that I had done with sin. 

I knew that Christ had given me birtK 

To brother all the souls on earth, 

And every bird and every beast 

Should share the crumbs broke at the feast. 3 : 

"The deep peace burnt my me alive." 


The test of spiritual growth is to be found in love. This 
does not mean a vague and pointless generalization. When 
this test is rightly made, it becomes very definite and 
specific, and we can readily see our success or failure. To 

1 Used by permission of The Maemillan Co. 


apply the test of whether our self-centeredness is on the 
wane, and our love is increasing calls not for a morbid 
introspection, but for the self-examination which the 
Scriptures enjoin. 

Paul in First Corinthians, chapter thirteen, furnishes a 
measuring rod. The Moffatt translation makes the distinc- 
tion between self-centeredness and love. With sincerity 
we can determine for ourselves our progress or lack of 
progress. "Love is very patient, very kind. Love knows no 
jealousy; love makes no parade, gives itself no airs, is 
never rude, never selfish, never irritated, never resentful; 
love is never glad when others go wrong, love is gladdened 
by goodness, always slow to expose, always eager to believe 
the best, always hopeful, always patient." 

The prayer of Paul for the Ephesians is: "May you be so 
fixed and founded in love that you can grasp with all the 
saints what is the meaning of 'the Breadth,' 'the Length,' 
'the Depth,' and 'the Height,' by knowing the love of 
Christ which surpasses all knowledge!" 

His prayer for the Philippians is: "And it is my prayer 
that your love may be more and more rich in knowledge 
and all manner of insight, enabling you to have a sense of 
what is vital." 

To the Colossians he expresses his deep concern "for all 
who have never seen my face. . . . May they learn the mean- 
ing of love!" 

Henry van Dyke asked Lord Tennyson if he would in- 
scribe on his portrait those lines from his poems which he 
would wish to be remembered though all the rest were for- 
gotten. Tennyson without hesitation wrote on his portrait 
the memorable lines from "Locksley Hall": 

Love took up the harp of Life, and smote on all its chords 

with might; 
Smote the chord of Self, that, trembling, pass'd in music out 

of sight. 


The spiritual progress of the individual is measured by 
his increasing power to say "no" to self. He becomes less 
self-centered and increasingly Christ-centered. This is ex- ( 
pressed in a hymn that is not very singable and is there- 
fore, not familiar: 

O the bitter shame and sorrow, 

That a time could ever be 
When I let the Saviour's pity 
Plead in vain, and proudly answered, 

"All of self, and none of thee." 

Yet he found me; I beheld him 

Bleeding on the accursed tree, 
Heard him pray, "Forgive them, Father!" 
And my wistful heart said faintly, 

"Some of self, and some of theel" 

Day by day his tender mercy, 

Healing, helping, full and free, 
Sweet and strong, and, ah! so patient, 
Brought me lower, while I whispered, 

"Less of self, and more of thee." 

Higher than the highest heavens, 

Deeper than the deepest sea, 
Lord, thy love at last hath conquered; 
Grant me now my supplication. 

"None of self, and all of thee." 

Chapter VI 


Bondage of fear is one of the tragical facts of human life. 
Basil King in Conquest of Fear wrote: "When I say that 
during most of my life I have been the prey of fear, I 
take it that I am expressing the case of most people." 
Dr. George W. Truett was to speak at a college for a week. 
The president sent out a questionnaire to students as to 
what subject they wanted to hear discussed. A majority of 
the student body replied that they wanted the visiting 
preacher to tell them how to conquer fear. We have too 
often failed to declare the gospel message in a way that 
would remove the dark specter of fear from the minds 
of men. G. K. Chesterton, the British essayist, said, "If I 
had but one sermon to preach, it would be on fear." 


The traditional view would carry fear back to Adam's 
fall, "I was afraid." The scientific view traces man from 
lower forms of life, and his heritage of fear from all of his 
upward strivings and conflicts of the past. In the first case 
man met fear on the way down; in the second case he met 
it on the way up. In any event, primitive man in his igno- 
rance of natural law was obsessed by fear. An eclipse 
meant that the sun was being swallowed up. Men were 
victims in the hands of supernatural powers. Evil demons 
abounded on every hand. The ancient world was under 
the bondage of fear. The fear of evil spirits and all kinds 



of terror loomed large. The saving work of Christ con- 
sisted in large part of freeing man from such fears. Dis- 
ease, as the Gospels show, was accounted for by demon 
possession. Even today the same kind of fear haunts the 
backward people. Albert Schweitzer, writing of his mis- 
sionary work in Africa, said that for the Negro Christian- 
ity is the light that shines in the night of his fear. 

Another author writes: "A difference between a Chris- 
tian and a cannibal is that a Christian knows how to 
sleep, and a cannibal does not. We sent missionaries to the 
heathen to teach them how to sleep, and preachers ought 
to ask, as a condition of church membership, 'Do you 
sleep well?' " The question might also be asked for a 
negative answer: "Do you sleep in church?" 

Various forms of superstition existed, since there was no 
idea of God and law. The universe, as men knew it, was 
peopled by a multitude of demons— little demons, big 
demons, petty mischievous demons, fearful devastating 
devils— all conscious of man, whose chief concern was to 
propitiate them so that at least they might leave him alone. 

These demons were disturbed when human beings were 
happy. Even in marriage there was the fear of jealous 
demons and divine lovers. The bride was veiled so as to 
conceal her identity. The custom of the best man was to 
deceive the demons as to who was in reality the happy 
groom. But there was marriage in spite of fear. The 
custom of ringing the church bell was not for the original 
purpose of summoning people to church, but to frighten 
away the demons that settled around the steeple— and that 
sometimes settled down lower than the steeple. 

A fear of the dead cast a heavy gloom. The corpse was 
carried out feet first so that he could not see his way back. 
Primitive man felt that the dead had power to work injury. 
The extravagance of mourning customs was to convince 
the ghosts that they were grief stricken. It was necessary 


to stay awake with the corpse; for if a watcher fell asleep, 
the ghost might entice his soul away. The loud lamenta- 
tions were to drive away the demons which would gather 
around a dead body. The eyes of the dead were closed to 
avert the evil eye. Food was supplied to appease the dead. 

Fasting was practiced because, if a hungry ghost saw a 
person eating food, he might enter the body of the living 
and harm him. The custom of rending the garments was a 
disguise to prevent the spirits from working harm. The 
custom of putting on black for mourning is a survival of the 
effort to disguise. Laceration and putting on of sackcloth 
were disguises to prevent the ghosts from inflicting injury. 

Primitive man feared darkness, since ghosts stalked 
abroad at night. He feared lest vampires suck his blood 
while he was asleep. The black shadow of fear constantly 
haunted him. 

This is not to say that the idea of God and prayer and 
religion originated in fear. The origin and growth of reli- 
gion cannot be traced to a single emotion. The emotions 
of reverence, wonder, awe, a sense of mystery, and a feel- 
ing of dependence were also present. Present in all re- 
ligion was the longing for good as well as the fear of evil, 
the gratitude of praise as well as the gloom of fear. 

Fear was not left behind in the ancient world. From 
life's beginning to its close, we run the gamut of varied 
forms of fear. Dr. George A. Buttrick in his volume on 
Prayer writes: "Fear is perhaps a primary instinct. It finds 
us in childhood when we cower beneath bedclothes, fol- 
lows us in midlife through our dread of poverty or failure 
or sickness, and overtakes us at last in the vague appre- 
hension of death." 

We are not sick all the time, we are not sinning all the 
time, we are not sorrowful all the time, but some form 
of fear is lurking and lingering in the mind all the time. 
We live in a fear-stricken world. 



Man is under the twofold bondage of sin and fear. Sim 
produces fear, and fear produces sin. This is not to say 1 
that all fear is the result of sin. The pulpit has placed due 
emphasis on deliverance from sin; it has had comparatively 
little to say about deliverance from fear. Jesus talked 
more about fear than any other subject. He had many 
things to say about sin, but he spoke of fear more than he 
spoke of sin. Time and time again he said, "Fear not," 
"Be not afraid," "Be not anxious." 

I confess that I crave more than all else the faith and 
assurance of the psalmist: "I sought the Lord, and he . . 
delivered me out of all my fears." 

The mission of Jesus is not only to deliver us from sin, 
but to free us from fear. Not only his teachings but many 
of his miracles— the cure of those possessed by demons- 
involved the removal of fear. Men and women came to him 
tempest-tossed with inner storms of emotional anxieties, 
and went away with the calmness of the eternal within 
their inner spirits. His touch still has its ancient power. 
Faith in him is the potent remedy for fear. 

It may not be good orthodoxy, but I will risk the state- 
ment that it requires more faith and a larger measure of 
divine power to save a man from fear than to save him 
from sin. The spirits of many saints who had the assurance 
of divine forgiveness were still disturbed by fear. 


The infant begins life with only two distinct fears: 
the fear of falling and the fear of a loud noise. But very 
soon the phobias begin to multiply, running through the 
alphabet from acrophobia, the fear of heights, to zoopho- 
bia, the fear of animals. There is afforded a linguistic 
paradise to the person who likes to use big words. We 


' enumerate only a few of these phobias. Agoraphobia is 
the fear of open spaces. Claustrophobia is the fear of closed 
spaces. The victim of this fear should be tenderly dealt 
with by the preacher. When a child, he was shut up in a 
closet so that he has a terror of a closed space, especially 
the church. 

Ergophobia is the fear of work. An employee said to the 
company physician, "I eat well and I sleep well; but when 
I see a job of work, it sets me all atremble." Ochlophobia 
is the fear of a crowd— the fear that a preacher has on 
Wednesday and Sunday evenings. Pressphobia is the fear 
of publicity, the dread of the limelight, a fear that also 
afflicts some preachers. Phobophobia is the fear of fear. 
Pantophobia is the fear of everything. 

In addition to the heavy load of phobias, very many in 
our modern age still cling to various superstitious fears 
despite the contribution of scientific knowledge. A com- 
pany of thirteen in a social gathering means calamity for 
some of the group. Well, if it is a dinner, somebody is 
liable to overeat; and that is bad luck. A hotel in Atlanta, 
Georgia, numbers the floor just above twelve fourteen, as 
if it were not in reality thirteen in spite of the false number. 

Another ill omen is for a black cat to cross the road. I 
was once riding out of a cemetery when the driver became 
suddenly agitated. He said, "Didn't you see that black cat?" 

I replied, "Yes, what of it?" 

He answered, "It means bad luck. I was driving the 
other day when a black cat crossed the road, and I came 
very near running off a bridge." 

I began to psychologize to the effect that his fear had 
produced a nervous condition. He became angry and 
asked who would fly in the face of providence. I dropped 
the argument. 

A group of joy riders were going sixty miles an hour 
when a black cat crossed the road. The driver said, "Bad 


luck, spit over your left shoulder." It was too late. The 
car in making the curve turned turtle; and, when the 
driver regained consciousness, he rubbed the sand out of 
his mouth and said: "Some rascal didn't spit." 

Even some religious people have the idea that God is 
such a capricious Being that he would bring a calamity on 
people because of thirteen or a black cat. 


A physical injury results from the derangement of the 
digestive process and the creation of poison in the blood 
stream. The effect on the mind is to produce nervousness, 
the gloom of the hypochondriac, insanity, and suicide. An 
estimate is that 85 per cent of the mental and emotional 
breakdowns come directly from fears. The spiritual dam- 
age is that fear results in cowardice and falsehood. It 
blocks the way of spiritual progress. The man in the 
parable of Jesus said, "I was afraid, . . . and hid thy talent." 

Fear prevents the exercise of faith which makes the 
spiritual venture. Fear is the foe of faith. Dr. Crile said: 
"When a man fears, he does not fear with the mind alone, 
but every cell and tissue of the body fears." Fear is the 
primary cause of the larger portion of our mental and 
spiritual disorders. Fear produces hatred, and we hate [ 
those whom we fear, and fear those whom we hate. Fear is 
the causal factor which produces the thing we fear— "The 
thing which I greatly feared is come upon me." The "fear- 
ful" are listed in Revelation with those guilty of the gross- 
er sins. While fear increases sugar in the blood, it increases 
bitterness in the spirit and makes man revengeful. 


Despite the peril of unregulated fear, recognition must 
be made of the legitimate place of fear in human progress 


and welfare. The fear of an accident produces caution in 
the pedestrian as he crosses the street. The fear of giving 
the wrong prescription makes the druggist careful. The 
prudent automobilist fears to pass on a hill. The fear of 
sickness leads us to observe temperate habits. The fear of 
disease leads to progress in medical science. The fear of 
ignorance results in schools and educational progress. 

The fear of penalty that follows the violation of the 
natural and moral laws of God has served as a strong 
motive for obedience to law. A scriptural injunction is: 
"Pass the time of your sojourning here in fear." We are 
to have a reverential fear of God which is higher than 
the fear of divine retribution. 

The fear of death, when it does not assume a morbid 
and harmful form, serves a beneficent function. This 
natural and instinctive fear which clings to the best and 
the worst serves as a safeguard against suicide as an easy 
escape out of the world. 

An importance belongs to fear in the interest of safety 
and life. In primitive days the men and animals who were 
not devoured were the men and animals who were afraid 
and escaped. Those who were not afraid or were afraid too 
late were destroyed. Fear has been the spur of progress. 

The adrenalin that is poured into the blood of a 
frightened man may result in the saving of his life. A boy 
was chased by an infuriated bull and leaped a fence. The 
next day he returned to the spot and tried repeatedly to 
jump the fence but was unable to do so. A man in a similar 
situation said that he thought he was running as fast as he 
could; but, when the horns of the animal touched his coat- 
tail, he decided that he could make much better timel 

There is the wholesome instinct of fear which leads us 
to carefulness. Otherwise, it would not be safe to walk the 
streets of our cities. A life devoid of this kind of fear 


which leads to self-preservation is not a mark of courage 
but of insensibility. The fear instinct in time of danger 
calls out our reserve powers and gives an added strength 
which is not possible without it. The incident is given of a 
frail little woman who carried out of a burning building 
her paralytic husband who weighed 175 pounds. Fear re- 
leased a stream of energy which gave to the woman more 
than her ordinary strength. 

How shall we solve the apparent contradictions in con- 
nection with fear? We face a paradox. Fear is forbidden, 
and fear is enjoined. "The fear of the Lord is the begin- 
ning of wisdom." Fear is sinful— a denial of God, a failure 
of faith, and practical atheism. But it would be the most 
tragical of all tragedies if we were free from fear in our 
wrongdoing. Fear is the scourge of God that will not let us 
rest so long as we try to build life and civilization on the 
rotten foundation of wrong. A distinction must be made. 

Evidently the fear against which Jesus so emphatically 
warns us consists of a distrust of God, and of all the morbid 
and injurious forms of fear which weaken human life. The 
biblical admonitions are directed against the sinful form 
of fear. That is the kind of fear which we are to strive to 


The fear arising out of war has been intense and prac- 
tically universal. Never before were so many in the grip 
of fear as during the period of a.d. 1939-45. The forebod- 
ing for the future has not been lifted by the defeat of the 
Axis nations. Science that removes superstition has im- 
mensely multiplied fears through its practical application 
in the invention of the destructive implements of war. 
We have ceased to fear the demons that people the air, 
but we live in dread of bombs dropped from the air. 

Fear produces war, and war in turn produces fear. The 


nations arm through fear. A South Georgia Negro said, 
"I'se actually so dangerous, I'se scared of myself." 

Modern man is hagridden by the fear that he may com- 
mit corporate suicide. Entire nations are fearful on account 
of international rivalry and competition. The failure 
rightly to adjust our international relationships and to 
recognize our interrelatedness and interdependence is the 
prolific source of fear. People cling to the idea and the 
ideal of absolute national sovereignty. Each nation is its 
own judge and jury and sheriff. Under the sway of the god 
of nationalism there can be no relief from fear. There can 
be no sense of security for a nation except as it is stronger 
in military preparation than all other nations combined. 
For each nation to be stronger than all the others is a 
fallacy which the wayfaring man, even though he be a 
United States senator, should be able to see. 

The attitude, however, toward military preparation has 
been suddenly changed. We have been plunged into a new 
era. The atomic bomb will finally knock out the advocacy 
of compulsory military training and the goose step. The 
most rampant militarists are being forced into pacifism. 
No place is left for the agelong military procedure when 
an atomic bomb can destroy a whole army or a whole city. 
Pilotless planes and long-range rockets will render large 
standing armies obsolete. 

The defense of war has become an anachronism. We 
shall witness the passing of the militant preacher who 
reconciled himself to any amount of bloodshed so long 
as he thought the Scriptures were being fulfilled. We 
shall witness the passing of the diplomats and politicians 
who were strong on proxy patriotism and who were 
willing to sacrifice the lives of others in defense of their 
country. Blood did not look so red at a distance. The 
practical defense of war for the sake of profits has become 
outmoded. These practical and profiteering defenders of 


war were able to make their purses full while they kept 
their full paunches out of the danger zone. There will 
also be relegated to the past the sentimental defense with 
the glorifying of war and the worship of brass buttons and 
shining uniforms. 

The atomic bomb has not knocked out hate and selfish 
greed. It will, however, practically compel the nations to a 
peaceful settlement of disputes if civilization is to endure. 
But men will continue to shudder under the dark shadow 
of fear until they realize that peace is secure. Two factors 
will produce permanent peace: international co-operation 
and spiritual transformation. 

First of all is the demand for international co-operation. 
For a nation to be the sole arbiter of its own acts is the 
road to continued conflicts. The burden of increasing 
fears can be lifted from the people of the earth only by a 
World Court and a union of nations strong enough to 
enforce the decisions of the court on any lawless and 
aggressive nation. This high possibility can be achieved 
and must be achieved if we are to live in a world where 
there is comparative freedom from fear. 

The second factor is spiritual transformation. General 
Douglas MacArthur, after the unconditional surrender of 
Japan, said: 

The problem basically is theological and involves a spiritual 
recrudescence and improvement of human character that will 
synchronize with our almost matchless advance in science, art, 
literature, and all material and cultural development of the 
past two thousand years. It must be of the spirit, if we are 
to save the flesh. 

The whole mass of ugly fear will never be lifted until 
we come to the realization and practice of the gospel of 
Jesus Christ that we are one family of God, who is our 
Father, and that we all are brethren. 


The fear of national decay belongs to some of our most 
thoughtful citizens. Our greatest peril is from internal 
foes. "A man's foes shall be they of his own household." 
No nation has ever been added to the wrecks of the cen- 
turies unless it was first weakened by its own internal 
corruption. We are the most drunken nation on earth, hav- 
ing spent even in time of war seven billion dollars a year 
on sarong drink. The liquor traffic has a strangle hold on 
our nation. This dragon of darkness must be met by the 
spiritual forces of the church with the realization that it is 
a war to the death. Sensuality pervades our society and 
threatens the home. The calculation is that, at the present 
rate of divorce increase, by the year 1965 there will be as 
many divorces as marriages. Racial hatred and intolerance 
and injustice toward minority groups are evident on every 
hand. The crime bill reaches a total of thirteen billion 
dollars a year. We have selfish greed and luxury on the 
part of the rich, and sullen resentment on the part of the 

Very pronounced at present is the peril of the pride of 
victory and pompous strut. Peace has her defeats no less 
disastrous than war. 

Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, 
Lest we forget— lest we forget! 

The danger from enemies within is forcefully depicted 
by Edwin Markham in "The Menace of the Tower": 

In storied Venice, down whose rippling streets 
The stars go hurrying, and the white moon beats, 
Stood the great Bell Tower, fronting seas and skies, 
Fronting the ages, drawing all men's eyes; 
Rooted like Tenerifte, aloft and proud, 
Taunting the lightning, tearing the flying cloud. 


It marked the hours for Venice; all men said 
Time cannot reach to bow that lofty head; 
Time, that shall touch all else with ruin, must 
Forbear to make this shaft confess its dust; 
Yet all the while, in secret, without sound, 
The fat worms gnawed the timbers underground. 

The twisting worm, whose epoch is an hour, 
Caverned its way into the mighty tower; 
And suddenly it shook, it swayed, it broke, 
And fell in darkening thunder at one stroke. 
The strong shaft, with an angel on the crown, 
Fell ruining; a thousand years went down. 

And so I fear, my country, not the hand 

That shall hurl night and whirlwind on the land; 

I fear not Titan traitors who shall rise 

To stride like Brocken shadows on our skies— 

Not giants who shall come to overthrow 

And send on earth an Iliad of woe. 

I fear the vermin that shall undermine 
Senate and citadel and school and shrine 
The Worm of Greed, the fatted Worm of Ease, 
And all the crawling progeny of these— 
The vermin that shall honeycomb the towers 
And walls of state in unsuspecting hours. 1 

It may be added that to give emphasis to the perils that 
threaten us is not to wail in the minor key. The recognition 
of the danger is to put us on our guard. An incalculable 
amount of fear and unhappiness is caused by a hopeless 
outlook on the future. The faith that takes the long 
perspective will not fall into melancholic lamentation. As 
we look, not at the decades, but at the centuries and 
millenniums, we note the unmistakable evidence of human 

1 Reprinted by permission of Virgil Markham. 


progress. Whatever may be the doom and downfall of 
nations, humanity sweeps onward. While there are dif- 
ferent scriptures difficult to reconcile, yet the Christian 
gospel has a hopeful outlook on the future. The New 
Testament is marked by apostolic optimism. 

Jesus was sure of the future, sure that love is stronger 
than hate, that right is stronger than wrong. His faith was 
in the ultimate victory of the good. "Every plant, which 
my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up." 

We come next to some fears of the more individual and 
personal type. 

The morbid fear of disease and sickness shadows the 
mind. Vague pains and feelings of discomfort are mag- 
nified into fatal maladies. There is the dread of bacteria 
and germs. A woman in riding a short distance changed 
street cars three times to avoid the dangerous bacteria, as 
if she would find fewer in one car than another. Consult 
your doctor occasionally and dismiss morbid fears. 

The fear of poverty besets rich and poor alike. William 
James said that poverty is the American's idea of hell. We 
create a dilemma to the effect that, if we do not worry, we 
will go to the poorhouse; and, if we do, we will go to the 
sanitarium. The forecast has been made that, at the present 
rate of our fear and nervous anxiety, by the year 2139 the 
world will be one vast insane asylum. 

There are those who fear the truth. Reference is not 
made to the fear of telling the truth, which would be a 
separate discussion, but the fear of knowing the truth. A 
woman said in my hearing: "No medical examination for 
me; it might be discovered that I have a fatal malady." 
But ignorance is not a cure for anything. Some people are 
afraid to know more for fear they might believe less. 

Their fear of the loss of faith is a fear that betrays the 
absence of a real faith. The churchmen in the time of Gali- 
leo refused to look through his telescope for fear they might 


see something new which would disturb their faith. A 
genuine faith is illustrated in the incident of an Irishman 
who was building a stone wall. He was asked if he was not 
afraid a strong wind would blow it down. He replied, "I 
am building it two feet high and three feet wide, and if 
the wind blows it down, it will be higher than it was to 
start with." The person with a strong faith knows that 
through all the changing scenes and difficulties of life his 
faith will emerge higher and stronger than before. 

The fear of old age robs life of much of its radiance. 
This fear is not enlarged upon, since a chapter is devoted 
to old age. 

Men are obsessed with the fear of life. The responsi- 
bility of life weighs heavily on the spirit, with the dread of 
possible failure. Instead of the realization that some failure 
may prove a step toward ultimate success, discouragement 
prevails, and self-confidence is lost. 

The fear of man is manifested in various ways. Very 
few rise to the heights of the apostolic courage: "We must 
obey God rather than man." 

We eat and sleep and toil and plod, 

And go to Church on Sunday, 
Some of us are afraid of God, 

And more of Mrs. Grundy. 

We have largely overcome the fear of magic but not the 
fear of the majority. There is the fear of those who are in 
places of authority. People fear that they will not attain 
some social standing and fear that they may lose whatever 
standing they have. This fear of men also arises out of a 
feeling of inferiority. This results in the assumption of a 
superior air. As a sort of compensation the attitude of 
pompousness is assumed. A pompous individual was 
strutting down the aisle of an auditorium when a small 
boy asked, "Mama, is that God's older brother?" We have 


overcome some fears, but there still abides a fear of man, 
"whose breath is in his nostrils." 

We have the fear of being misrepresented, misunder- 
stood, unappreciated, ignored, and unrecognized. 

The fear of self-expression belongs to very many people. 
This has no reference to the group who clamor for self- 
expression when they have nothing worth expressing, but it 
refers to those who through timidity or cowardice fail to 
express themselves. The old Scotch woman after her hus- 
band's death was lamenting the fact that during fifty years 
she had never told him that she loved him. It was of no 
use to sob over her neglect. She had let pass a half century 
of opportunity. 

There are those who in order to avoid giving expression 
to their ignorance on a subject will resort to evasion. An 
Irishman went to his priest with the question: "Father, 
what is the difference between cherubim and seraphim?" 

The priest scratched his head for a moment and replied, 
"Pat, don't you worry about that. There was a difference 
once, but it has been adjusted." 

A further form of evasion on the part of a public speaker 
is to discover the opinions of his audience and withhold 
the expression of any idea which might be objectionable 
to his hearers. The story is told of a candidate for senatorial 
honors who was scheduled to speak in a small town. 
Anxious to discover the religious affiliation of the majority 
of his audience, he addressed them in this manner: "My 
great-grandfather was an Episcopalian [silence], but my 
great-grandmother belonged to the Presbyterian Church 
[more silence]. My grandfather was a Baptist [silence], 
but my grandmother was a Congregationalist [continued 
silence]. But I had a great-aunt who was a Methodist [loud 
applause]— and I have always followed my great-aunt!" 

When freedom of expression might possibly result in a 
loss of position, the refuge is in silence or a cowardly 


evasion. There arose centuries ago the cynical maxim: "If 
a man will hold his tongue, he can hold anything." 

In many instances, silence is not golden, but is the 
mark of counterfeit character. 

To sin by silence when we should protest 
Makes cowards out of men. 


This fear looms as a dark cloud on the horizon of life. 
The writer of Hebrews speaks of those "who through fear 
of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." 

First of all, there is the fear from the anticipation of the 
pain and horror of death. A noted physician has said that 
99 per cent of all deaths are painless. In the course of life a 
thousand times more pain is suffered than in death. The 
majority of people die unconsciously. Even when people 
face death consciously, the terror has passed away. I heard 
Dr. James A. Moffatt say that in all of his experiences he 
had never found anyone face to face with death who was 
any longer afraid. He said that he had inquired of nurses, 
and their testimony was the same, except with a few very 
rich persons who seemed to think that they would not 
have quite as good a time in the next world as they had 
enjoyed in this world. As we have experienced living 
grace, so shall we find dying grace. 

Again we fear death because it breaks the continuity 
of life. Victor Hugo said, "I need a thousand years to do 
what I have in mind." What kind of activity shall be ours 
in the future life? The fear of uncertainty as to the pos- 
sibility and nature of our activity besets the mind. 

With a diminishing number there is the fear of the 
torture of eternal retribution. This fear does not have 
the prevalence it had in former days. 

In our modern age very many are haunted by the lurking 


fear of annihilation or extinction. Thomas Henry Huxley 
declared: "When I think that in 1900 I shall know no 
more nor be no more than in 1800, it comes over me with 
a horror which I cannot express. The fact is that rather 
than cease to be I had rather be in hell, if I could have a 
place where the climate and company are not too trying." 

Jesus strikes the note of certainty: "Let not your heart 
be troubled. ... In my Father's house are many mansions: 
if it were not so, I would have told you." 

My knowledge of that life is small; 

The eye of faith is dim; 
But 'tis enough that Christ knows all, 

And I shall be with him. 

The faith of the Christian as expressed by Paul is: 
"There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness." 

I know not what the future hath 

Of marvel or surprise, 
Assured alone that life and death 

His mercy underlies. 

In connection with the fear of death, there is the be- 
setting fear of the loss of life's labor and self-sacrifice. The 
despairing doubt torments us as to whether or not the 
imperishable values of life are preserved beyond time. 
We do not care to give our lives to the good, if the good is 
finally to lose out. If we could have the assurance that life 
is not defeated by death, we would relish the heroic and 
daring venture. We would be willing to throw ourselves 
against the insolent and brutal forces of evil at the cost 
of suffering and scorn death if we only knew that we 
were fighting for a winning cause. The faith that endures 
is the faith that discerns the invisible. "Let us not be weary 
in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint 


not." "Be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in 
the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your 
labour is not in vain in the Lord." 

Furthermore, in regard to death, there is the lurking 
fear in my own mind that I may not know after death 
how the moral and spiritual values thrive on earth. I am 
concerned to know what is taking place in the world after 
I leave it. Reconcilation to death would be much easier. 
The veil appears to hang thick between time and eternity. 
We cannot penetrate the veil from this side. The matter 
of recognition in heaven does not perplex me, but whether 
or not I shall know not only how it goes with loved ones 
left behind, but also how it goes with society and civiliza- 
tion at large. I trust that from the other side we can see 
through the veil and observe the upward march of hu- 
manity. I trust that then I shall not "see through a glass 
darkly; but . . . shall . . . know even as also I am known." 


We have seen that the forms of fear are legion and cling 
like leeches to the mind. Is there any light on the dark 
shadow of fear? Where shall we look for the cure of fear? 
We call attention to some helpful considerations before 
coming to the function of religion and spiritual faith. 

We should reckon with the physical. Bodily illness 
breeds fears. We should take vigilant care of health and 
strengthen our physical energies for daily living. Play and 
recreation are destroyers of phobias. Through sports and 
games subjectivity is removed, and fears dwindle. 

We are to occupy ourselves in useful work which does 
not leave the mind to a random wandering. The reading 
of books of a sane and wholesome type produces healthful 
emotions and fortifies the mind against false fears. 

Selecting cheerful companionship is a fortification 
against fear. Associate with people who have courage and 


optimism. Courage is contagious. A courageous soul will 
pour iron into your blood. The hopeful spirit radiates 
hope. This does not mean that we are to hold ourselves 
aloof from the fearful and the depressed, but it does mean 
that we shall be prepared to impart strength to others 
and not to receive weakness from others. 

Talk over your fears with an understanding friend who 
can enter wisely and sympathetically into your state of 
mind. John Rathbone Oliver in his book on Fear makes his 
main character say after he had opened his heart to the 
physician: "It was as if he had pulled out a plug, and all the 
stuff that had settled in the bottom of my heart flowed out." 
To share our fear with the right person is to lessen its power 
over us. 

We are not on the road toward a remedy until we fairly 
face our fears. We are not to try the way of escape from 
fears and seek to hide from them. We are to make our 
vague fears as definite as possible and courageously con- 
front them. Flight from fear affords no relief; you cannot 
dodge the issue. 

As we boldly face our fears, the first step has been taken 
toward the cure. The fears, when fairly faced, may vanish 
like Hambone's ghost. Hambone said that he knew it was 
a ghost because when he reached out to "tech" it, it was 
not there, and when it reached out to "tech" him, he was 
not there. 

The cure of some forms of fear is found in removing 
the cause. Medical science has reduced fear by greatly 
reducing the death rate from tuberculosis, by a large re- 
duction of the maternal mortality rate and also of the 
death rate for babies. Medical science has almost removed 
the fear of infection and in numerous other ways reduced 
the mortality rate. The hopeful forecast has been made 
that the main sources of human suffering are almost en- 
tirely conquerable by human care and effort. Furthermore, 


scientific knowledge is sufficient for the cure of supersti- 
tious fears. But the fact must be faced that there are some 
fears which are beyond human power to relieve and too 
deep-seated for science ever to reach. Only faith in God 
can relieve many of the dreads of life. The psalmist says, 
"I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me 
from all my fears." A vital religious faith is the only ulti- 
mate cure of fear. 

I do not know beneath what sky 

Or on what sea shall be my fate 
I only know it will be high 

I only know it will be great. 

We may gain strength against fear as we meditate upon 
the great words of Scripture. "Fear not, Abram: I am thy 
shield, and thy exceeding great reward." It is the constant 
exhortation of Jesus, "Fear not therefore: ye are of more 
value than many sparrows." From Genesis to Revelation 
runs the refrain "Fear not" which will set the joy bells 
ringing in your soul. 

We are assisted in the mastery of fear as we consider 
Jesus. Back of his admonition "Fear not" was his own fear- 
less life. One man has lived in our world without fear. Dr. 
Chester Warren Quimby in a volume Jesus as They Re- 
membered Him wrote: "Two emotions Jesus is represented 
as never having experienced, fear and personal hate." He 
was the one man truly fearless, whether in the midst of a 
raging storm at sea or in the midst of the fiercer rage of 
his enemies. 

His faith in God's fatherly care overcame fear. The 
perfection of his love expelled fear. Love is an antidote of 
fear. "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out 
fear." Love for a worthy cause, love for a loved one, love 
for God make us fearless in our devotion. With this love 
we risk life itself in utter self-forgetfulness. 


We may possess at the very core of our personality the 
eternal unsearchable riches in Jesus Christ, which all the 
incidents and accidents of time are powerless to take away 
from us. All the evil forces of earth and hell combined 
are powerless to enter the inner citadel of our spirits and 
deprive us of those abiding and permanent spiritual values. 
"For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor 
angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, 
nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other 
creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, 
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." 

The joyful note runs through all the Scripture like a 
strain of melodious music: "Fear not"; "Do not be afraid"; 
"I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was 
dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and 
have the keys of hell and of death." 

Oh the torment of fear— black, ugly fear that haunts the 
threshold of the mind and rushes through the open door! 
It is fear that drives reason from the throne of the mind, 
creates a million dark demons that terrify the soul, turns 
the love of God into the hate of a cruel despot, and trans- 
forms the harmony of the soul into a disordered bedlam. 
It is fear that changes radiant hope into lurid despair, tugs 
at the heartstrings like a weight of lead, and clutches the 
heart with the grip of a devil's hand. 

If God should give me the power of bestowing one 
supreme boon on humanity, I would lead every troubled 
fearful soul into the deep current of the river of the 
water of life, where the fevered brows would be cooled and 
the aching hearts bathed in the healing waters. 

Fear not, I am with thee; O be not dismayed, 

For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid; 

I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, 

Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand. 

Part Three 

Chapter YII 


We are on the way to poise and peace if we accept our- 
selves as we are — that is, if we construe this in the right 
way. William James quotes a lady as saying that the hap- 
piest day of her life was the day she ceased trying to be 
beautiful. If the number of beauty shops are an indication, 
not many of our women have come to this viewpoint. 

Some years ago I boarded a small train on a branch 
railroad and entered into a conversation with a Negro 
porter, who was busy about his work. In the course of his 
remarks, he said, "I'm so glad I'm black, I don't know what 
to do. I jes' wish I was a shade darker." I did not see how 
that was possible; but, anyway, he lingers in my mind as 
a picture of contentment. 

Many people are tormented by a discontent with their 
position or work or station in life. They are dissatisfied 
with their task and look with envious eyes on others who 
are more prosperous. The Scriptures give constant empha- 
sis to the attainment of contentment. "A good man shall 
be satisfied from himself." "Godliness with contentment 
is great gain. . . . And having food and raiment let us 
be therewith content." "Be content with such things as 
ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor 
forsake thee." 

Discontent also arises from disappointed ambition. The 
aspiration to achieve distinction in some field of human 
endeavor has not been realized. We are to recognize not 
only the difference of talents but the inequality of talents. 



We are to do the work appointed for us, however humble, 
and preserve our self-reverence. We have no right to 
complain, since we are not making full use of the talents 
that we possess. 

You are not only to reconcile yourself to such gifts as 
you possess; you are to adjust yourself to the situation 
which confronts you. Even though endowed with five 
talents, you may be called upon to adapt yourself to a 
subordinate position. The dominance of ambition and 
pride may prevent this adaptation so that the higher goal 
may be missed. 

Daniel Webster was an intellectual giant of his day with 
his heart set on being president of the nation. When Har- 
rison was nominated, Webster was sought for vice-presi- 
dent. He was too proud to take second place. It went to 
John Tyler. A month after inauguration Harrison died, 
and Tyler became president. Again Webster refused to be 
running mate for Zachary Taylor, who died in about one 
year after his inauguration and left Millard Fillmore, 
who was vice-president, to succeed to the presidency. Thus 
for the second time the unbending ambition of Webster 
deprived him of the goal of his aspirations. A refusal to 
accept the second place deprived him of the first place. 

Hiram Johnson refused second place on the ticket with 
Harding. Coolidge accepted the vice-presidency and, fol- 
lowing the death of Harding, became president. 

The spirit of discontent leads us to want to be what we 
are not, and to want to go where we are not. 

Dr. Russell H. Conwell in a lecture on "Acres of Dia- 
monds" told a true story of an old Persian, Ali Hafed, who 
owned a large farm and was contented until visited by a 
Buddhist priest who told him of the value of diamonds. 
The old man could not sleep and sold his farm and went 
out to find a diamond mine. At last, discouraged, he threw 
himself into the waves between the pillars of Hercules. 


The man who bought the farm led his camel down to the 
brook. He saw a flash of light and discovered the world's 
richest diamond mine— the Golconda. The largest dia- 
monds on earth come from that mine. 

Men have become dissatisfied with their circumstances, 
and have lost the fortune that was within reach in a vain 
search for some far-off treasure. 


As we accept ourselves as we are, we cultivate poise 
rather than pose. We are to be natural according to the 
best significance of the term. You have heard the preacher 
who speaks in unnatural and tearful tones. We are to avoid 
a weak imitation. If any two of us are alike, one of us can 
be spared. 

According to Paul, "Charity vaunteth not itself, is not 
puffed up." 

The false assumption is that to be natural is to be our 
worst self. To be natural in its true significance is to be 
true to our spiritual nature. We are spiritual beings, and 
to be truly natural is to be spiritual. Any other way is 
to be unnatural and abnormal. Browning expresses the 
true philosophy: 

The common problem, yours, mine, and every one's, 
Is— not to fancy what were fair in life 
Provided it could be,— but, finding first 
What may be, then find how to make it fair 
Up to our means: a very different thingl 

In so far as external events are concerned we are to ac- 
cept with full resignation, if not with gladness, that which 
is absolutely unavoidable. Our disappointments may not 
be God's appointments, but they are inescapable. We 
must learn how to accept defeat gracefully. This was the 


method of a candidate who met overwhelming defeat. 
He had posted in his office window the notice: "A $100 
reward is offered for finding the man who voted for me." 
Stephen A. Douglas, the unsuccessful rival of Lincoln, 
said at the inauguration of Lincoln: "If I cannot be presi- 
dent, I can hold the president's hat." 

James G. Blaine was defeated for president in 1884. 
One of his supporters, a preacher, sounded the unfortunate 
slogan against the Democratic Party: Rum, Romanism, 
and Rebellion. In addition to this, a rainstorm kept away 
from the polls many of Blaine's farmer supporters. Blaine 
said: "I feel quite serene over the results as the Lord sent 
me an ass in the shape of a preacher and a rainstorm. I am 
resigned to the outcome." 

Our problem is to reconcile ourselves to the inevitable 
and the unavoidable. You may be hedged in by limita- 
tions—physical ailments that cling to you or to some 
member of your family. You may be shut off from coveted 
opportunities and cherished ambitions. Your plans may 
be thwarted and fond desires frustrated. You may be 
cribbed, cabined, and confined within a small circle. Cul- 
tivate a gratitude that is able "in everything to give 
thanks." By a spiritual alchemy transmute the baser metals 
into gold. Your best opportunity is to do your duty where 
you are, and to stay where you are if that is your duty. The 
Lord said to Moses: "The place whereon thou standest is 
holy ground." 


You can change your own attitude, but you cannot 
change the order of the universe. When Carlyle was told 
that Margaret Fuller accepted the universe, he replied, 
"Gad, she'd better!" The story is that, when it was reported 
that Matthew Arnold had arrived in heaven, the reply 


was, "Too bad. He won't like God." Discontent with 
things as they are takes the form of railing against Provi- 
dence and the natural order of the world. In the Rubdi- 
ydt, Omar Khayyam makes the protest: 

Ah Love! could you and I with Him conspire 
To grasp this Sorry Scheme of Things entire, 
Would not we shatter it to bits— and then 
Remould it nearer to the Heart's desirel 

Another poet flings his defiance at God: 

That not for all thy power, furled and unfurled, 

For all the temples to thy glory built, 

Would I incur the ignominious guilt 

Of having made such men in such a world. 

In Shakespeare's Hamlet, Ophelia, the sister of Laertes, 
is driven insane by cruelty. As Laertes listens to her rav- 
ings, he cries out, "Do you see this, O God?" 

Different forms of suffering result from the three factors 
of natural law, the free will of man, and social solidarity. 
These factors inherent in the world order carry the pos- 
sibility of both good and evil. The world is not a one-way 
street. We cannot have the highest good without the al- 
ternative of possible evil. 


We need to make terms with the inevitable. We are 
prone to discontent if our ambitions exceed our ability. 
Some poet in words not so elegant has written: 

If you are de tail, don't you try to wag de dog. 

Pass de plate if you can't exhawt an* preach. 

If yo're jes' a little pebble, don't you try to be de beach. 

When a man is what he isn't, den he isn't what he is; 

An' sure as I'm a-talkin, he's a-gwine to get his. 


We are to recognize our limitations and also our ca- 
pability. Limitation in one direction does not mean total 
disability. Do not bother about what you do not have 
when you can use what you have. Learn how to accept 
with gladness the inevitable. "If the Lord sends rain, then 
rain is my choice." You may be in a quandary as to the 
possibility of one of two positions; so make as your choice 
the one that comes to you. If you do not receive some 
promotion which you thought might be conferred upon 
you, then rejoice that you did not and confidently believe 
that matters turned out the best for you. 

As expressive of my own attitude, I may add a personal 
word and say that I have learned to maintain my poise 
whenever I come to the forks of the road. The road on 
which I find myself traveling becomes my choice; and thus 
far, when I have seemed to be approaching a blind alley, 
it has opened up into a thoroughfare. 

While "accepting ourselves" expresses a true principle, 
yet there is doubtless suggested to the reader a need of 
some modification. Invariably as we pursue a proposition, 
the inescapable paradox arises. We are not to be content 
with what we are. There is a contentment that arrests all 
progress, whether intellectual or spiritual. The same great 
spiritual leader who had learned to be content also said: 
"This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are 
behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are 
before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high 
calling of God in Christ Jesus." Paul was content as to his 
external circumstances, but was urged on by a divine dis- 
content to higher spiritual attainments. 


We are not to construe the acceptance of the inevitable 
as involving a kind of fatalism. We should not accept as 
unavoidable that which should not be and which need not 


be. We are not to resign ourselves to wrong social con- 
ditions, but we are to wage ceaseless warfare against that 
which hurts human life. The words of Jesus, "The poor 
always ye have with you," have been interpreted in rigid 

In the warning to the rich concerning the camel and the 
needle's eye, the eye of the needle has been so enlarged 
that the camel can go through, hump and all. Some of the 
privileged have preached that poverty produces piety, but 
they want the experience worked on others. They endeavor 
to comfort the poor by placing emphasis on the future 
interests in heaven, but their real concern is for vested in- 
terests on earth. The platitudes in praise of poverty fall on 
the ear with a hollow and hypocritical sound. Things may 
be all awry in this present world; you may suffer injustice; 
the good things of life may be inequitably distributed; 
but all of that is due to the inscrutable providence of God. 
Never mind; above all, do not meddle with the problem. 
It will all come right in another world. If you cannot have a 
piano on earth, you will have a harp in heaven. Endure for 
a while with patient resignation. The discipline is good 
for the soul, and you will get your reward beyond. But 
this answer no longer satisfies. The demand is for justice 
here and now. The suffering from inhumanity and injustice 
can no longer be construed as the divine chastening for 
the discipline of the soul. 

The promise of heaven is not to be used as an opiate for 
the consolation of the poor. The gospel was never intended 
as a dope to quiet the pangs of pain when the cause should 
be removed. We have no moral right to be resigned to 
social and economic wrongs. It is our business to help 
remove the unnecessary sufferings of life. It is a false in- 
terpretation of life and blasphemy against God to say that 
it is his will. We are to wage a truceless warfare against the 
oppression of the weak. Religion and revivals of religion 


were never intended for resignation results. There are 
the "high-ups" who are very anxious that the "low-downs" 
get religion with the hope that the low-downs will be 
more contented with their lot. 


We have a long roll of brave souls who accepted without 
resentment the difficulties that beset them. They refused 
to surrender to defeat and triumphed over disadvantages. 
Only a very few instances of an exhaustless number may 
be mentioned. Regardless of one's political affiliation, the 
victory of Franklin Delano Roosevelt over a serious handi- 
cap calls forth admiration. In 1921, when thirty-nine years 
of age, he was suddenly stricken with infantile paralysis. 
The supposition of politicians was that his affliction had 
removed any political possibility. But in twelve years after 
he was stricken he was inaugurated as the thirty-second 
president of the United States. 

Helen Keller became blind, deaf, and dumb after a 
severe illness when two years of age. She learned to read 
by the Braille system, and graduated with honors from 
Radcliffe College in 1904. She became a well-known lec- 
turer and writer. She is the author of a number of volumes, 
among which are Optimism and Out of the Dark. 

An impressive and less conspicuous example of turning 
a "handicap into a halo" is given by Dr. Clarence W. Hall 
in the Christian Advocate. Evelyn Harrala was born with 
neither hands nor feet. For ten years she tottered around 
her father's farm on the stumps of her legs. She became an 
honor student at Hamline University and is an active 
worker at Simpson Methodist Church in Minneapolis. 
She is a musician in much demand for concerts. Evelyn 
Harrala modestly says: "Many persons more handicapped 
than I have made good, and some of them have not had 
the chances I have had." 


No particular illustration may open up a way out of 
difficulties for others. Instances could be multiplied in 
which people on sickbeds have made themselves highly 
useful. The one thing to be desired is the purpose to per- 
sist. If you have some handicap, you are to find in your 
own way some work which will prove helpful and which 
will relieve you of the tedium of life. You can turn your ob- 
stacles into steppingstones. We are on the road to happiness 
not only when we accept ourselves as we are, but when 
we accept the happenings of life as they are. 

Fanny J. Crosby, many of whose hymns are familiar to 
all worshipers, became blind at six weeks of age. She 
testified: "I am the happiest soul living. If I had not been 
deprived of my sight, I would never have received so good 
an education, nor cultivated so fine a memory, nor have 
been able to do good to so many people." 

Great souls in suffering have not complained, though 
fettered by fate and cribbed and cabined by hard circum- 
stances. Victor Hugo, banished from France by Napoleon, 
turned his exile into the opportunity for his greatest 
literary achievement, the writing of Les Miserahles. Jona- 
than Edwards was pastor at Northampton, Massachusetts, 
for twenty-three years. As a result of a controversy in his 
church, he was dismissed by a vote of the congregation. 
The outlook was gloomy with a wife and ten children. He 
went to a smaller church at Stockbridge. He turned his 
disappointment into intellectual activity and wrote his 
notable volume on Freedom of the Will. He was soon 
recognized as the leading thinker of his age and became 
president of the College of New Jersey, now Princeton. 

The heroic spirits have refused to surrender to defeat or 
despair. They have verified the prophetic promise: "I will 
give . . . the valley of Achor [trouble] for a door of hope." 

William Wilberforce was such a sufferer that he had to 
take opium to assuage the pain. In spite of his handicap, 


he carried on a relentless fight against the slave trade. 
Robert Louis Stevenson never saw a well day, but he re- 
fused to mope and left to the world a rich legacy of literary 
productions. Charles Lamb had an insane sister who killed 
their mother. Lamb gave up marriage, patiently brought 
his sister back to sanity, and gave to the world some rare 
gems of literature. General William Booth was informed 
that he was going blind. He said to his son Bramwell: "I 
have done what I could for God and the people with two 
eyes. Now I will do what I can for God and the people 
without eyes." George Matheson, the Scotch preacher, 
practically blind throughout his adult life, revealed that 
it was at a time when he was alone in darkness and desola- 
tion of spirit that he wrote the lines: 

Love that wilt not let me go, 
I rest my weary soul in thee; 

1 give thee back the life I owe, 
That in thine ocean depths its flow 

May richer, fuller be. 

Take out of the world the priceless values which were 
left by the long line of brave spirits who turned tragedies 
into triumphs, and the world would be too poor to live in. 

They are the world's great altar stairs, 
That slope through darkness up to God. 

It needs to be added that the triumph of heroic spirits 
over obstacles should not lead us to underestimate the 
importance of physical well-being. The average individual 
cannot achieve happiness if beset by disease and pain. 

For when the body's sick and ill at ease 
The mind doth often share in the disease. 

The familiar ideal is "a sound mind in a sound body." It is 


our obligation to comply with all the requirements for 
good health. In so far as the record goes, Jesus is portrayed 
as having a body free from sickness. 
Robert Browning wrote: 

To man, propose this test— 

Thy body at its best, 

How far can that project thy soul on its lone way? 

Health contributes to happiness, and happiness in turn 
contributes to health. But our point of emphasis is that, 
however unfortunate and inevitable are the physical ills, 
the heroic spirits have maintained a happiness of mind 
and a serenity of spirit. Through no fault of theirs, they 
are often the victims of painful and incurable maladies. 
Paul retained an abiding joy despite his "thorn in the 
flesh." He accepted the inevitable without complaining or 

Beethoven suffered from rheumatism, indigestion, weak 
eyes, dropsy, and was never in good health. In his thirty- 
second year he began to lose his hearing, and eventually 
could not hear the music he composed. He wrote, "Poor 
Beethoven, there is no external happiness for your soul. 
You must create your own happiness." He became totally 
deaf, but applied himself to his music to the last. He died 
when fifty-seven years old and said with his last breath, "I 
shall hear in heaven." 

William Cowper suffered two attacks of insanity. In his 
melancholia he thought that he was not one of the elect. 
He continued to write hymns. Some of the best-known are: 
"Sometimes a Light Surprises," "God Moves in a Mys- 
terious Way," "There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood," 
and "O for a Closer Walk with God." 

Henry Drummond suffered a most painful malady. In 
his suffering he retained his good cheer and said, "How 
suddenly the water deepens, sometimes in one's life. Well 


I suppose it must be better this Heeper sea than the shal- 
lows where the children play." 

Sir Walter Scott had an attack of infantile paralysis when 
eighteen months old. He accepted his physical handicap 
without bitterness. If he had not been a cripple, he would 
have been a soldier with a great loss to the world. He 
was the author of two hundred volumes. Calamity fol- 
lowed calamity. The bulk of his fortune was swept away 
by the failure of a publishing house. He lost by death his 
favorite grandson. His wife had an incurable disease. In 
his diary were two lines from Shakespeare's King Henry 

Are these things then necessities? 
Then let us face them like necessities. 

It is this willing and heroic acceptance of the inevitable 
that turns tragedy into triumph. We turn back to Paul 
for the highest manifestation of the heroic spirit. He 
prayed to be delivered from "the thorn in the flesh," but 
the Lord said to him, "My grace is sufficient for thee: 
for my strength is made perfect in weakness." He ceased 
groaning and began glorying. He wrote to the Philippians: 
"I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be 
content. I know both how to be abased, and know how to 
abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed 
both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to 
suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which 
strengtheneth me." 

Georgia Harkness wrote: "It is in the triumphant ac- 
ceptance of life's inevitables that our Christian faith has 
its most visible testing." The prayer of a Negro as quoted 
by Harry Emerson Fosdick was, "O Lord, help me to 
understand that you ain't gwine to let nothing come my 
way that you and me together can't handle." We are to 
do what we can and leave with God that which is beyond 
our power. 



To resign one's self to a calamity is much easier ideal- 
ized than practiced. It is the way to happiness and use- 
fulness. Henry Fawcett, a young Englishman, was hunt- 
ing with his father. In shooting at a bird the father hit 
his son, putting out both eyes. Henry Fawcett said, "I 
made up my mind within ten minutes of the accident to 
stick to my main purpose so far as in me lay." He worked 
his way through Cambridge University and was made pro- 
fessor of political economy. He became postmaster gen- 
eral of England and devised the system of parcel post, 
afterward introduced into America. 

Dr. John Benjamin Magee, president of Cornell Col- 
lege, related out of his own knowledge the incident of a 
hero whom he did not name. The man had prepared him- 
self as a doctor. When he was ready to begin practice, he 
was taken sick and was paralyzed from his shoulders down. 
Only his head and arms were still alive. He courageously 
faced the inevitable. He kept a mirror through which he 
looked at the world outside his window. With two tele- 
phones by his bed he conducted his business. He edited a 
newspaper column called the "Sunshine Column." He 
called up the sick and hurt and underprivileged. He dis- 
pensed laughter and good will from his couch of weak- 
ness. For twenty years he carried on despite his severe 
handicap. Dr. Magee added: 

When we buried him the service was held in the largest hall 
available. Hundreds came to look upon his face. And as the 
long line of mourners filed by, guided by the police, there came 
people in wheel chairs, cripples on crutches, helpless ones 
who had to be carried. It was such a testimony of loss and 
blessing as I had never seen before or since. 

Self-acceptance means that we do not indulge in a use- 
less resentment over what has happened to us. However 


unfortunate the circumstances, they have come, and you 
are not to protest against the inevitable. You are to strive 
to transform adversity into victory. We can meet an unfor- 
tunate situation bravely and afford encouragement to all 
who are handicapped. The lesson that needs to be empha- 
sized is not solely one of encouragement to those who are 
fettered by hard conditions. But the triumph of the sorely 
afflicted over difficulties should put to shame the people 
who are not physically handicapped, but who lead aimless 
and useless lives. 

When we whine over our own troubles, we only augment 
our unhappiness and make other people more miserable. 
To accept ourselves as we are is a primary condition of 
personal happiness and progress. Noah in The Green 
Pastures said, "I aint very much, but I'se all I got." 

Aspiration in excess of ability may create such a tension 
between the ideal and the real possibility as to make life 
gloomy and hopeless. This discrepancy between aspira- 
tion and ability may result in discouragement and a sense 
of defeat. As has been noted, men are endowed with an 
inequality of talents as indicated by Jesus in the parable. 
That which Jesus calls for is a faithful use of our ability, 
whether it be great or small. The man who made use of 
his two talents received the same rich reward as the man 
with five talents: "Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." 

If the servant with only one talent had made faithful 
use of it, he would have received the reward of joy as the 
two other servants. The one talented servant was not con- 
demned because he did not accomplish great things, but 
because he did not do what was within his power. It is 
not how much a man has, but the fact of his faithfulness 
that is the test of character. The one-talented man is prone 
to become disgruntled because he does not possess as great 
gifts as others. If we possess only one talent, we have no 
just cause for complaining of our limitations when we 


do not make use of the gifts which are ours. No matter 
how limited is your ability, take what you have and use 
it. Accept yourself as you are. This is the road to success 
and happiness, and the way that leads to eternal joy. 

There are diversities of gifts and differences in talents. 
"One star differeth from another star in glory." We are 
to accept ourselves as we are. We are to reconcile ourselves 
to our limitations and harmonize ourselves with our cir- 
cumstances. The faithful spirit is unconquerable, and 
victory is in our grasp. 

If only we strive to be good and true, 
To each of us, there will come an hour, 
When the tree of life will burst into flower 
And rain at our feet the glorious dower 
Of something better than ever we knew. 

Chapter VIII 


A sense of humor is one of the faculties God has planted 
within us to save us from going mad or becoming pomp- 
ous and conceited. It has probably done more to maintain 
the mental balance of persons under strain than any other 
factor. Since humor is a necessary element of human 
nature, it must belong to God. The business of living is 
much too serious to be taken solemnly. When the tension 
of life is tight, and we are all tied up in knots, a hearty 
laugh lightens the strain and lifts the load. 

You may have humor without happiness, but you can 
hardly have happiness without humor. Man is the only 
animal who laughs and weeps, who detects the incon- 
gruous, and who is able to compare things as they are 
with what they should be. In cases of insanity, humor is 
utterly lacking. Humor makes for sanity and health and 
religion. It allays hostility and oils the machinery of 
human relationships. 


You may present a cause with flawless logic and yet lose 
out through a lack of the saving sense of humor. Dr. George 
A. Gordon, the revered pastor of the New Old South 
Church, Boston, related this incident of the American 
Board of the Congregational Church. The board was 
involved with extreme zeal and heated fervor in a dis- 
cussion of probation after death. There was a "holy rage" 



on the part of both sides, which seemed ready to disinte- 
grate the old organization. It was then that Dr. Parker of 
Hartford sprang into the debate with a mirthful story. 

"Last evening in front of this very hall in which we are 
now gathered," he said, "two men were talking. One ad- 
dressed the other by saying: 'These religious people have 
jewed us out of our fun on Sunday. They have jewed us 
out of our liquor, and I'm blamed if this American Board 
ain't talking about prohibition after death.' " The writer 
states that the effect was "a thunderstorm of applause and 
laughter, continuing, it seemed, for minutes and recurring 
again and again. There were a few more serious speeches, 
but the end was evidently nigh." Dr. Gordon said: "The 
work had been done, not by logic, but by laughter, in- 
spired by him, I cannot doubt, of whom it is written, 'He 
that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh.' " 

No great personality who has been devoid of humor has 
ever put over successfully a profound truth which has lifted 
society to higher levels. The great leaders in the religious, 
the political, the philosophical, and the scientific realms 
have seasoned their reasoning with humor. Through the 
use of humor they have put their hearers in a receptive 
mood and won out in their argument. Through humor 
they have punctured fallacy. 


The record is that twice Jesus wept, and no mention is 
made of his laughter. The natural inference is that his 
laughter was not an exceptional occurrence. His humor 
doubtless created a ripple of laughter among his hearers. 
Jesus was making use of humor when he said, "If the 
blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." "Ye 
. . . strain out a gnat, and swallow a camel!" "And why 
beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but 
considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" We are 


sure that, if Jesus had not been merry-hearted, he would 
not have attracted the children as he did. 

He who jested about a great camel trying to scrunch 
through a needle's eye must have had a keen sense of the 
comical. We can see the responsive smile break across the 
faces of his listeners as he ridicules degenerate principles 
of conduct that new ideals might gain headway. 

Jesus' appeal was largely to the common people, who 
gave him a hearty hearing and a large following. If he had 
been solemn and gloomy, he would not have attracted 
such numbers. We are left to imagine the twinkle in his 
eye, the smile that lit up his face, and the tone of his 
voice as he dramatized the stories he told. 

In Jesus, humor was associated with serious matters. 
The Pharisees accused him of ignoring traditional cus- 
toms. He answered with two illustrations: One is of a 
woman who used an unshrunken piece of cloth to patch 
a trouser seat. When it was washed for the first time, the 
patch shrank and pulled away, leaving a larger hole than 
before. One can imagine the laughter in the household as 
the woman held up the trousers and saw her mistake. 

The other humorous illustration is the picture of a 
man who filled with new wine a wine skin already 
stretched to its limit. The juice began to ferment, and 
suddenly there was an explosion as the wine skin burst. 
Only one who had laughed at such a picture himself 
would use it, and there were some in his audience who 
got the point more quickly because of the humor. 


You can hardly name a stalwart and dynamic person- 
ality who did not possess in a large measure the saving 
salt of humor. Abraham Lincoln at once comes to mind. 
His humor was typically American, as when he said of 
one of the arguments of Douglas: "It is as thin as homeo- 


pathic soup that was made by boiling the shadow of a 
pigeon that had been starved to death." When the burden 
of the nation's sorrow rested upon his soul, he said: "If 
what I feel were equally distributed to the whole of the 
human family, there would not be one cheerful person 
in all the earth." He once remarked to surrounding of- 
ficials: "Gentlemen, why don't you laugh? With the fearful 
strain I should die without laughter." 

Two Quaker ladies were discussing the prospective out- 
come of the Civil War. One said that she thought Jeffer- 
son Davis would win because he was a praying man. The 
other lady said that Abraham Lincoln was also a praying 
man. The first replied, "Yes, but he is so given to jokes 
that the Lord will not know whether or not he is in earnest 
when he prays." 

Henry Ward Beecher possessed humor to a marked de- 
gree. He said, "Blessed is the man that has a sense of the 
humorous. He has that which is worth more than money." 
Once when he was in the midst of an impassioned passage, 
a drunken man in the balcony waved his arms and crowed 
like a rooster. Beecher stopped, took out his watch, and 
remarked: "What, morning already? I wouldn't have be- 
lieved it, but the instincts of the lower animal are in- 
fallible." The crowd roared; the orator caught up the 
threads of his discourse and went on as if nothing had 

Again, in England, when he was addressing an audience 
sympathetic to the South, a heckler shouted, "I thought 
you said you of the North would whip the South in six 
months. Why haven't you done it?" 

Beecher shouted back above the tumult, "Because we 
are fighting Americans, not Britishers." 

And again the audience expressed its appreciation. On 
another occasion in this country, after he had said in a 
speech to a vast audience, "The voice of the people is the 


voice of God," from the gallery a man shrilled, "The voice 
of the people is the voice of a fool." 

Beecher replied, "I said the voice of the people, not the 
voice of one man." 

Beecher was never caught off guard. 

One of the most noted of American humorists was 
Mark Twain. His humor did not produce happiness for 
himself but doubtless relieved much of his gloom. 

Exaggeration is an American type of humor. Much of 
Mark Twain's work is made up of wild exaggeration. At 
his seventy-fifth birthday dinner someone asked Mr. 
Clemens to tell why it was that he had lived so long and 
appeared in such excellent health. He replied: 

I have a few little rules that are good for me. They may not 
be good for anybody else, but they fit me. When I eat any- 
thing that disagrees with me, I keep on eating it till one or 
the other of us gets the best of it. I never smoke— more than 
one cigar at a time. I never drink— by myself. I never go to bed 
—as long as there is anybody to sit up with. I never get up 
until I have to. And I never did a lick of work in my life. 

He published his Joan of Arc anonymously because, his 
chief reputation being as a humorist, he believed that the 
public would not take his work seriously. 

William J. Bryan, the great Commoner, enlivened his 
political campaigns with humorous stories. Fiercely at- 
tacked by Republican speakers, the Commoner in rebut- 
tal said that some years ago a celebrity had returned to his 
alma mater, a small college in the west. After a speech in 
the chapel by the visitor, the president of the institution 
inquired if he would like to visit the room he had occupied 
while a student. The celebrity said he would be delighted 
to do so; and the two men crossed the campus to the old 
dormitory, climbed to the second floor, and knocked at 
the door of the room. Now it happened that the present 


occupant of that room was digging out his Latin with the 
help of a fair coed— a violation of the rule that forbade 
girls to visit the boys' dormitory. The boy, suspecting that 
this caller might be a faculty member, told the girl to step 
into a convenient closet. This she promptly did, and the 
student answered the knock. The president presented his 
distinguished guest and explained the nature of the call. 
The celebrity looked around the room and smilingly re- 
marked, "The same old table, the same old chairs." He 
went to the window and looked out, "Yes, and the same 
old tree." He turned about, "And the same old closet, into 
which I should like to peep." When he opened the door, 
he saw the coed and exclaimed, "And the same old girl!" 

The student spoke up, "Yes, my sister, sir." 

"And the same old lie," rejoined the celebrity. 

"Now," concluded Bryan, "my Republican friends are 
at it again telling the same old lies about me." 

Mark Twain, Bret Harte, Artemus Ward, Will Rogers, 
and other noted humorists have contributed to the health 
and happiness of people. 

Will Rogers had his chuckle— even when he went to 
church— and the dear old preacher, bald as a billiard ball, 
took for his text, "The hairs of your heads are numbered." 
There was no acid in his humor— it was just pure fun. 
He made us laugh hard because he laughed with us, not 
at us. He said, "I've poked fun at all the big men of my 
time, but I never met a man I didn't like." When a charm- 
ing woman chided him, "You don't remember me," he 
replied, "Why, my dear lady, I have been trying to forget 
you so I could go on with my life." His humor never left 
a sting. 

"Wit comes from the brain, humor from the heart." It 
was pure wit when someone said of an endless talker that 
he had "occasional brilliant flashes of silence." That was 


pure wit when Dean Inge remarked, "A man who can 
hold his tongue can hold anything, even a bishopric." 

Humor is a social and political balance wheel. It 
punctures all shams and humbugs. It has been well said 
that "a man is ridiculous not so much for what he is as 
for pretending to be what he is not." Humor helps us to 
see ourselves as we really are; and so it may be even a 
means of grace enabling us the better to obey the injunc- 
tion "not to think of [ourselves] more highly than [we] 
ought to think." 

Each generation should have at least one gadfly to sting 
it into sanity. Such a gadfly was Dean Swift, and in our 
day Dean Inge. This "social ragging" has been the salt 
of English political life. In Hyde Park agitators are 
laughed down when advocating absurdities. 

Humor keeps religion wholesome. Fanatics in religion 
are always devoid of humor. Has laughter any place or 
part in true religion? Our grandfathers did not think that 
faith and fun ever mixed. They seemed to think that, 
if a thing was enjoyable, it was wrong. In the third edition 
of Cruden's Concordance of the Bible, 1769, we read: "To 
laugh is to be merry in a sinful manner." There was no 
laughter in their liturgy— to smile was near akin to a sin. 
George Eliot wrote an essay entitled, "Can a True 
Christian Consistently Smile?" It was satire, but there was 
much in the thinking of her day to justify her jibe at a 
joyless religion. No doubt, in our reaction against a re- 
pressive religion, we have gone too far. In refusing to be 
solemn, we often fail to be serious; but at least we see i 
that the two are not always the same. 

Bishop Warren A. Candler eased the heavy burdens of : 
his own life and brought good cheer to others with his 
abounding humor. He was at his best when presiding over 


a Conference session. Often his humor was a keen thrust 
at those whom he regarded as wise only in their own con- 
ceit. He said that the miracle of Balaam's time was an ass 
talking, and the miracle of our day would be to stop asses 
from talking. The bishop assured an audience that God 
did not strike people dead for lying in our day as in the 
day of Ananias and Sapphira. He then added: "If God 
should do that today, where would I be? I would be 
standing up here talking to a lot of corpses." His expla- 
nation for not playing golf was that because of his avoir- 
dupois, if he could see the ball, he was too far away to hit 
it, and if he was close enough to hit it, he could not see 

On one occasion a somewhat consequential layman in- 
quired, "Bishop, why is it we have so many poor, good- 
for-nothing preachers?" 

The bishop replied, "Well, I don't know unless it is be- 
cause of the sort of laymen we have to make them out 
of." For the most part Bishop Candler made use of humor 
to drive home some truth. In reply to those who advocated 
withholding money from the common schools of Georgia 
because the Negroes got some of it, the bishop said: "We 
are in danger of the folly of the man who in order to freeze 
his dog to death went out in the cold and held the dog 
until he himself was dead, while the dog survived." 

Sam P. Jones was the outstanding humorist of his day. 
The Hon. Thomas E. Watson pronounced him the great- 
est genius of Georgia in his own generation, or possibly in 
any generation. No man with a heart so tender ever dealt 
in language so strong. He made use of the rough terms 
"scoundrel," "fool," "lying rascal," "red-nosed devil," and 
"the hit dog howls." He said: "If I hew to the line and 
let the chips fall where they will, the people say, 'Oh, Sam 
Jones said it; he can say anything.' Well, now, if I can say 
anything and if I am the only one who can, then I think 


I ought to keep at it all the time." "I photograph your 
ugliness, and you sit there and laugh at it. You ought to 
be ashamed." "If any of you don't like the way these 
services are going, there are three doors; you can just rack 
out." "You may not like my grammar. I am trying to get 
my style and grammar down to your level." "When I 
first started out, I was afraid I would hurt somebody's 
feelings— Now I'm afraid I won't. If any man don't like 
what I say, let him come up to me afterward and say so; 
and I'll forgive him." 

In one of Sam Jones's meetings in Nashville, in common 
with other students I was a regular attendant at his 
services. The theological students relished the courage 
with which he tackled the leading political figures. He 
had criticized the pardoning record of Bob Taylor, then 
governor of Tennessee, and the governor crossed swords 
with him in the public press. Jones came back with the 
story of the little dog who in front of a locomotive was 
defying its approach, and he concluded with a twinkle, 
"That dog was ever afterward a sadder and wiser bobtailer 
dog." Sam Jones held complete mastery over an audience, 
and his audience caught the contagion of his good humor. 

"Everything they say about me helps me. If they lie 
about me, I'm so glad it's a lie I can't get mad. If they tell 
the truth about me, I'm so sorry I can't get mad. So I always 
keep in a good humor." "I can somehow stand to be 
swallowed by a whale, but to be nibbled to death by min- 
nows is awful; and now that the terrapins begin to bite, it is 
time to wind up the line and quit." Much of his philos- 
ophy is summed up in one closing quotation, "I'll tell you 
how I've stood all I've been through. I'm always in a good 
humor. I believe that fun is the next best thing to re- 
ligion; and if religion can't triumph over temperament, 
it ain't much account." 



The form of humor arising out of mixed metaphors is 
never intentional on the part of the speaker or the writer. 
A speaker in behalf of the poor declared that thousands 
were grinding their faces in the dust of poverty and at 
the same time were trying to keep their heads above the 

A preacher said: "We often pursue the shadow until 
the bubble bursts and leaves nothing but ashes in our 
hands." Another declared that the report of something or 
other about which he was being eloquent would "re-echo 
in golden letters along the corridors of the river of time." 
Another mixer admonished his hearers to make hay while 
the pot boiled. Still another official said to the town coun- 
cil: "I do not want the council members to get their fingers 
burned with a white elephant." The keynote speaker at 
the Democratic Convention in Chicago contended that 
"the juggernaut has laid its hand upon the country's 
neck." A congressman once exclaimed in debate, "Mr. 
Speaker: I smell a rat. I see it floating in the air, but I 
shall nip it in the bud." 

Huey Long exclaimed: "You can spur a horse so long, 
but finally the ship of state will sink." 

The dean of a college was warned that a certain course 
would give the institution a black eye. Then he declared, 
"We will just have to like our black eye and swallow it." 

A man was addressing the annual meeting of a church 
society some months ago and said: "I must confess, ladies 
and gentlemen, that our work is only in its early stages. 
But I do claim that we have driven in the thin edge of 
the wedge and devoutly hope that ere long we shall leaven 
the whole lump and see our endeavors bearing fruit a 

In connection with a report at the Methodist General 


Conference of 1940 concerning the General Conference 
expense fund, a member of the Conference exclaimed in 
impassioned tones: "If they don't stop shearing the wool 
off the sheep that lays the golden egg, they're going to 
pump it dry!" 

The Negro preacher said, "Preaching to some of you 
people, it's like pouring water on a duck's back. It goes in 
at one ear and out at the other." 

The typical politician sits astride the top rail of the fence 
and trims his sails to the wind, with one eye on the main 
chance and one ear on the ground. 


Another type of humor consists in irrelevancy or in- 
congruity. You can make a statement perfectly irrelevant 
to what has gone before, and it will sound very funny. 
For instance, Artemus Ward said: "I used to know a man 
in Utah who had lost all his teeth— he didn't have a tooth 
in his head, a perfectly toothless man; but he could beat 
a bass drum as well as any man I ever saw." The matter- 
of-fact person will say: "I don't see what his lack of teeth 
has to do with his beating the bass drum." That's the 
source of the humor— the irrelevancy. 

It so happened that I was once the chief actor in an in- 
congruous situation. I was a guest preacher at the First 
Methodist Church, Houston, Texas. I was just seated in 
the speaker's chair when a lady came out in front of me 
and extended her hand. With my natural gallantry, I 
arose and clasped her hand. With flushed cheeks she said, 
"I am directing the choir." Thinking rapidly for one time 
in my life, I held her hand and remarked on the large 
congregation and the fine choir. The audience supposed 
that we were old-time friends. If I had collapsed in con- 
fusion, the audience would have given way to merriment. 



Whatever trouble Adam had, 

No man in days of yore 
Could say, when Adam cracked a joke, 
"I've heard that one before." 

But we should not object to a joke because it is old. 
It's venerableness entitles it to respect, and some jokes 
are actually new. Then, as a matter of fact, a joke renews 
it's youth every seven years. The courteous consideration 
must be kept in mind that no gentleman has ever heard 
a joke before. Henry Grady, the matchless southern 
orator, spiced his speeches with jokes. Even in his epoch- 
making oration before the New England Society of New 
York he had the temerity to tell this story— a story that 
still bobs up from time to time: 

There was once an old preacher who told some boys of the 
Bible lesson he was going to read in the morning. The boys, 
finding the place, glued together the connecting pages. The 
next morning he read on the bottom of one page: "When 
Noah was one hundred and twenty years old, he took unto 
himself a wife who was"— then turning the page— "one hun- 
dred forty cubits long, forty cubits wide, built of gopher 
wood, and covered with pitch inside and out." The old 
preacher was naturally puzzled at this. He read it again, 
verified it, and then said, "My friends, this is the first time I 
ever met this in the Bible, but I accept this as an evidence 
of the assertion that we are fearfully and wonderfully made." 

A chaplain reported one of the soldiers as the most dif- 
ficult man in the army camp, surly and odd. Dick Sheppard 
was invited to the camp. He talked with this particular 
soldier and left him smiling. The chaplain inquired, "Dr. 
Sheppard, how did you approach that man? I have not 
been able to get near him in six months." 


Sheppard said, "Oh, I asked after his mother and told 
him two or three funny stories." 

A British editor made the observation that during the 
fearful bombing of London the morale of the people was 
sustained by faith and a sense of humor. We are in need 
of relaxation because life is so tense and so serious and 
so crowded with calamities that, if we brood over them, 
we are liable to break under the strain. My objection to 
some very solemn brethren is not that they regard life as 
a very serious affair, for life is tremendously serious and 
at times tragical. My objection is that they take themselves 
too seriously. 

There are people who see ten reasons for sobbing where 
they discern one cause for rejoicing. It should not be so 
with the Christian. If he is a son of God and joint heir 
with Jesus Christ, the smiles ought to chase away the 
frowns. There should be a chair of humor in our schools 
and colleges, and especially in our theological seminaries. 
In what other way can you deal with a person who struts? 
In what other way can you puncture pomposity? In what 
better way can you penetrate the thick hide of a snob? 
In what better way can you help the person who takes 
himself too seriously? You are to take life seriously; life 
is a serious affair; but you can take yourself too seriously. 

A saving sense of humor will prevent you from becom- 
ing gloomy, grouchy, and grumpy. In looking beyond 
time, we are convinced that something would be lacking 
in the happiness of the future life if the element of humor 
were excluded. The fact that humor entered into the 
mental life of Jesus would indicate that it will continue in 
the next world; otherwise, there would be a real loss of 
human values. Why should we consider solemnity as the 
distinctive feature of the blessed immortal? There are not 
a few who in this present life seem to be preparing them- 
selves for a smileless eternity to which they look forward 


by banishing all gaiety from their countenances and all 
joyousness from their hearts. 


We should not have our pleasantry at the expense of 
another's pain. The best mirth "gives a side-ache to every- 
body and a heartache to nobody." "As the crackling of 
thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool." Jesus 
rebukes those who make a jest of life and turn the most 
serious matters into a joke: "Woe unto you that laugh 
now! for ye shall mourn and weep." 

The warning has been sounded that we are in danger 
of becoming a nation of clowns. A dash of Tabasco sauce 
in soup is appetizing, but a spoonful is torture. Even when 
a man's purpose is serious, his humor may prove to be 
a handicap. It has been said that the only thing which kept 
Benjamin Franklin from writing the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence was the fear that he might slip a few jokes in it. 
It is said that Tom Reed, speaker of the House of Repre- 
sentatives, was disqualified as a serious presidential pos- 
sibility by a reputation for too-great wit and humor. Tom 
Corwin said the way to succeed in politics was "to be a 
solemn ass." 

Even if one keeps his humor within bounds, he risks 
paying the penalty of being accused of lacking solemnity. 
He will be accused of frivolity by the pompous person who 
does not have sufficient discernment even to laugh at him- 

There is of course a risk to be run. People laugh with 
you so long as you amuse them; but if you attempt to be 
serious, they must still have their laugh, and so they laugh 
at you. Humor may prevent you from attaining some de- 
sired position or promotion. Sidney Smith said in speaking 
of his more successful brother: "We have reversed the 
laws of gravity. He has risen by his gravity, and I have 


sunk by my levity." The serious-looking individual may 
walk off with the honors, but a merry heart with a gift 
of humor is worth far more than it costs. 

We are under the necessity of being serious, but we 
should not identify it with dullness. Boswell remarked to 
Dr. Johnson that Sheridan was naturally dull. Johnson 
said: "Yes, Sheridan is naturally dull; but he must have 
attained his present state of dullness by persistent effort. 
Such dullness as he now exhibits is altogether beyond 

Benjamin Brierley, the English essayist, made the ob- 

Too many theologians have been dyspeptic to begin with, 
and their biliousness colored their doctrine. It is only a few 
days since I heard the remark made concerning a well-known 
professor of dogmatics and champion of orthodoxy, that if 
only he were cured of his dyspepsia, it would make such a 
difference in his theology. 

"There is gloom enough to keep you glum; there is gleam 
enough to keep you glad." Gloom or gleam, one may have 
which he will for the choosing. 


Many personal combats have been prevented by one or 
both parties' possessing a sense of humor. If Fundamental- 
ists and Modernists could meet together and exchange a 
few jokes, it would go very far toward taking the "dern" 
out of "Modernism" and the "dam" out of "Fundamental- 

Humor and ridicule have proved effective in great re- 
form movements. These forces were used by Cervantes in 
Don Quixote and by Dickens and Thackeray. 

Many divorces might easily be prevented if humor were 
used on the verge of a quarrel. Women are apt to be more 


intense than men. They express themselves with greater 
freedom and say things on the spur of the moment that 
they do not really mean. In these moments they may in- 
deed be reaching out for some gesture of affection. When 
husbands because of a lack of humor allow themselves to 
be drawn into the same mood instead of passing over the 
occasion lightly, then tragedy is likely to result. Women 
are entitled to their moods, and to treat them too seriously 
is only to increase the tension. When a situation is arti- 
ficial, it can be neutralized by a little touch of humor. 

Society must have humor. The church needs it. It helps 
to oil the machinery and prevent friction. There is many 
an old grouchy brother whose influence for good would be 
multiplied if he only knew that laughter is divine and 
not devilish. 

In his About Ourselves— Psychology for Normal People, 
H. A. Overstreet asserted that "we are led to feel that 
humor, whatever it is, is a gift of the gods." Then he made 
the point that we have been so accustomed to associate 
humor only with jokes and funny stories that we have 
overlooked the fact that it is highly important in buildin^ 
a strong normal human life. 

Henry Rutherford Elliott wrote: 

Are you worsted in a fight? 
Laugh it off. 

Are you cheated of your right? 
Laugh it off. 

Don't make tragedies of trifles, 

Don't shoot butterflies with rifles- 
Laugh it off. 

Does your work get into kinks? 
Laugh it off. 


Are you near all sorts of brinks? 

Laugh it off. 
If it's sanity you're after 
There's no strategy like laughter- 
Laugh it off. 


The fact must be recognized that there are specters of 
gloom that natural merriment cannot chase away. There 
are sorrows too deep and difficulties too hard for humor 
ever to remove. Some of our greatest humorists have been 
the saddest of mortals. 

Charles Matthews was said to be the greatest English 
comedian of his day. He could make the great city of Lon- 
don merry. Worn out in body and brain, he became a 
victim of sad despair. He called on an English specialist 
for treatment, exclaiming: "Doctor, what can you do for 
me? I am so sad that it seems my heart will break." 

The physician made a most thorough examination and 
said: "My advice to you is to go and hear Charles Mat- 
thews. You need to laugh; you do not need medicine. His 
humor is a tonic." 

The poor, nerve-racked comedian replied: "I am 
Charles Matthews." 

Humor is a helpful ally of faith, but it is not a cure-all, 
a panacea for human sorrow. The happy, radiant spirits 
of the world are those with a vital faith in God. "The joy 
of the Lord is [their] strength." 

Chapter IX 


We should strive to meet the conditions of continued 
usefulness and happiness. We must avoid certain tend- 
encies of the advancing years. We must reckon with com- 
pensating values of old age. 


One tendency is to live in the past. The claim is that 
the good old days were the best, and that the world is going 
to the bow-wows. We are prone to place a radiant halo on 
the past and to bewail the awful degeneracy of the present. 

We must avoid a fixedness of opinion. An old man ob- 
jected to the tractor and said, "I have spent more than 
forty years studying the taste, temperament, and peculiar- 
ities of the mule; and I am not going to throw all that 
knowledge away for some new-fangled affair." In contrast 
with this, Jonathan Edwards, after he reached old age, 
said, "I am resolved to accept any new conception of the 
truth, which is supported by reason and evidence, how- 
ever long I may have held a different conception." 

Anxiety and worry are to be avoided. We are to culti- 
vate the joyful emotion. If we are to keep young while 
growing old, then the glad emotions must have right of 
way. Worry is a foe to the heart, to the digestion, to the 
circulation, to every nerve and brain cell. 

A tragedy of life is the loss of the wondering mind. We 
are to retain the spirit of wonder and inquisitiveness. 



"And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great 
sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the Lord 
saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him." 
Because Moses had retained the freshness of the wondering 
mind, God could make use of him for forty years longer. 
When we lose interest in the new things of the new and 
marvelous present, the black border of the dead line is 
already behind us. This is what Jesus means by becoming 
as a little child. The topmost tragedy of human life is the 
death of the child in the grown person when the instinct 
of wonder has died out of life. 

An increasing sense of uselessness and futility is a peril 
of old age. The old man is prone to feel that he has fallen 
into a state of innocuous desuetude. He complains that he 
is no good to anybody and can only sit and watch the world 
go by. There is also the realization— not without some 
reason— that he is not afforded the opportunity of being 
as useful as he might be. The aged sometimes become em- 
bittered through lack of attention and are childish and 
irritable. The sense of uselessness is intensified when the 
poor come to a dependent old age, having laid up nothing 
for a rainy day. 

It is possible for the aged to resist and to overcome the 
feeling of futility and to retain a joyful outlook on life. 

We are to retain activity of thought and an active in- 
terest in life. There has prevailed a kind of superstitious 
attitude toward the Bible and what it has to say concerning 
our allotted time on earth. The psalmist mentions three- 
score years and ten as the normal length of life in his day. 
Some people, when they reach the end of this period, think 
there is nothing left but to die or else to continue a decade 
longer in labor and sorrow. 

At the time of his death, Dr. Charles W. Eliot, for many 
years president of Harvard University and then president 
emeritus, though over ninety years of age, was still one of 


the most progressive thinkers of his generation. William E. 
Gladstone at the age of eighty-five was the mastermind of 
the British Empire and the leading statesman of the world. 
John Wesley at eighty was as busy as he had been at any 
time in his life. 

Professor Edward L. Thorndike said: "If I had to draw 
a general conclusion, I should say that the results demon- 
strate that the ability of adults to learn is very close to that 
of persons from seventeen to nineteen years of age. The 
ability of an old dog to learn a new trick largely depends 
on the dog." 

In a summary of four hundred of the most noted men of 
all time, 64 per cent of the great achievements of the world 
were by men over sixty; 23 per cent of the achievements 
were by men between seventy and eighty; and 1 per cent 
of the achievements was by those under forty. 

We are to be continuously interested in worthy enter- 
prises, and retain an alertness of mind. A man's age does 
not depend upon his accumulated birthdays but upon the 
elasticity of his spirit— the vigor of his mind. A well-known 
professor of psychology tells us that "the brain does not 
reach maturity until the age of fifty, and if it is properly 
exercised, it may remain young at ninety." 

A further peril that besets old age is the spirit of boast- 
ing. Instead of a frank acknowledgment of physical in- 
firmities, the person may boast that he is almost as strong 
as he ever was. This leads to a failure to take proper pre- 
caution against overexertion. The same kind of claim is 
made as to an unabated mental vigor. Other people observe 
the mental infirmity— the weakening of memory and the 
constant repetition of incidents and stories. Boasting is a 
sure sign of senility. 

Along with the fault of boasting, the old person tends to 
become increasingly garrulous. He talks at length not only 
about his achievements but about his ailments, unfavorable 


physical symptoms, and imaginary ills. His reminiscences 
are exhaustless and exhausting. How the neighbors of 
Methuselah must have suffered! It is a fortunate state of 
affairs that we do not have Mr. and Mrs. Methuselah— and 
a Reverend Methuselah would mistake time for eternity. 
It is only fair to say that some old people avoid the dispo- 
sition of excessive talkativeness. 

The tendency, however, is for the old man to be in- 
terested more in what he wants to tell you than in what 
you are telling him. His cup is already full and running 
over. He listens in a listless way to your narrative and is 
impatient for you to stop so that he can start. Your nuggets 
of wisdom and rarest jokes fail to register and serve only 
to remind him of precious gems which he is anxious to 
impart to you. He is an active talker but an inert listener. 
You should be patient with the older person, for where 
he is now, soon you will be. At the same time you can be 
on your guard against the perils of old age. 

A wise old owl sat on an oak, 
The more he saw the less he spoke; 
The less he spoke the more he heard; 
Why aren't we like that wise old bird? 

Old men face the peril of envy. We are to possess a 
willingness to decrease. The advancing years remind us 
that, as compared with our younger brethren, we must de- 
crease and they must increase. They should not, however, 
be too anxious about our decrease or decease. We do not 
care that our younger brethren should sympathetically 
allude to our increasing decrepitude and comment on 
signs, or supposed signs, of a failing mental vigor with 
irritating expressions of concern. All of this is in the 
absence of the victim, but it comes to his knowledge. But 
we have the unrighteous satisfaction of knowing that the 
years are on their trail. Seriously, we should recognize that 


we have had our day, and we should rejoice in the promo- 
tion and success of those who follow after us. 

Those who are older must avoid envy of the younger 
men who have come to the front. You have to look back 
to see your future. If you have any clouds of glory, they 
are trailing like a comet's tail behind you. Some older 
preachers resent the fact that the churches prefer a younger 
man. This has doubtless been carried to such an extreme 
as to justify the sarcasm that churches should employ a 
pediatrician as an associate for the pastor. The older 
preacher may truthfully claim that he possesses superior 
knowledge and experience and can preach better than 
ever before. In some instances he doubtless overlooks the 
fact that his mind grows stiff along with his knees. The 
older man should reckon with his handicaps as compared 
with the younger man. His health is more precarious. In 
the midst of a pastorate he may be rendered inactive by a 
paralytic or heart attack or some other old-age ailment. 
Very naturally the churches prefer a vigorous and active 

We should not unduly anticipate death. Cicero remarked 
that no man is so old but that he expects to live another 
year. We can be overpessimistic as to our continuance 
in life. 

Dr. William Lyon Phelps told of a visit that he made to 
President Charles W. Eliot, of Harvard. Dr. Phelps said, 
"I hope you will always be as courteous in the future in 
permitting one to call upon you as you have been in 
the past." 

In reply, Dr. Eliot said: "I should like to have you call 
when you are in Cambridge; but when you come again, I 
may not be here." 

Surprised, Dr. Phelps inquired if he were intending to 


Dr. Eliot replied, "Resign? No, you do not understand, 
for you see I am a man sixty-six years of age." 

But Dr. Eliot continued active until his ninety-second 

We must win the victory over fear of old age. We are to 
meet the advancing years unafraid. William Allen White 
on his seventieth birthday .said, "I am not afraid of to- 
morrow. I have seen yesterday, and I love today." 

The fear of old age is a common fear. People begin 
anxiously to study the mirror. A woman said, "Husband, 
this is the sorriest mirror we ever had." It is not a question 
of age, but of spirit and purpose. Emerson remarked, "We 
do not count a man's years, until he has nothing else to 
count." The familiar saying, "The good die young," is 
profoundly true, since if the good die at all, they have to 
die young. They maintain an eternal freshness of spirit. 
We cannot arrest the advancing years, but we do have a 
choice. We can grow old gloomily, grouchily, and grudg- 
ingly; or we can grow old gladly, gratefully, and gracefully. 
We can grow old cynically and cravenly, or we can grow 
old cheerfully and courageously. 

Old age is not so much the accumulation of years as 
the acquisition of fears— not so much in gray locks as in 
gray looks. 

A very bright woman who felt the weight of the ad- 
vancing years said, "Jesus suffered everything that we 
suffer except old age." It may be added, however, that 
Jesus can bring happiness to old age. 


There is to be recognized the advantage of disadvantages. 
Cicero names four reasons why old age is regarded as an 
unhappy period in life. 

The person is withdrawn from active employment. This, 
however, is true only of physical activities. There need 


not be any let-up in intellectual pursuits, and one may 
grow old learning something new. 

Old age enfeebles the body. This is closely related to 
the preceding item. Despite this fact, the mind may in- 
crease in wisdom, and the soul may increase in goodness. 

The person is deprived of certain sensual pleasures. But 
these constitute a peril to character. 

There is the haunting thought of the nearness of death. 
Cicero adds the comforting consideration that death is 
"coming to port at last after a long voyage." 

Cicero states the alternative that death either extin- 
guishes the soul or ushers it into the realm of happiness. 
He^ftAmcally observes that, if the first alternative is true, 
the skeptical philosopher will have no chance to deride 
us for our faith. He further adds a disadvantage in that 
old persons are neglected by those from whom they for- 
merly received attention. The old Roman has something 
there. The old person is responsible if he allows himself 
to become fretful and ill-tempered and disagreeable. Cicero 
represents Cato as saying: "Men, of course, who have no 
resources in themselves for securing a good and happy life, 
find every age burdensome. But those who look for all 
happiness from within can never think anything bad 
which nature makes inevitable!" 

We who are older, however, are not convinced that it is 
inevitable that we should be shut off from all opportunity. 
But we are not to be sensitive, and we must avoid self- 
pity. We should rather pity the unfortunate public, the 
real loser, which does not have the chance to hear us. We 
might say with Ruskin, "I do not wonder so much at what 
people suffer as at what they lose." 

Old age is prepared for a keener spiritual insight. With 
increasing years we more readily discern the things that 
are vital. The incidentals fall away. We lay hold of the 
central verities of the faith by which men live. We see 


in the calm light of experience what the major issues of 
life are. There comes on an increase of the wisdom that 

In old age the hollowness of worldly pomp is exposed. 
We come to see how artificial is the distinction between 
the so-called lower and higher positions in life. We come 
to see the emptiness and vanity of all earthly honor and 

The riches of Christian experience are enhanced with 
the lapse of the years. Faith, hope, and love are deepened 
and strengthened. The light of God's love shines brighter 
and brighter. 

E'en down to old age all my people shall prove, 
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love. 

It is the privilege of old age to possess a more confident 
assurance of the immortal life. 

For hope shall brighten days to come, 
And memory gild the past! 

This assurance of immortality rises above the groping 
uncertainty that was expressed by Cicero on old age. The 
jubilant note of certainty rings out in the words of the poet: 

Because I know the spark 
O God has no eclipse, 
Now death and I embark 
And sail into the dark. 
With laughter on our lips. 

Paul voices the victorious strain: 

Death is swallowed up in victory. 
O death, where is thy sting? 
O grave, where is thy victory? 



Old age may become the happiest period of ones entire 
earthly sojourn. It is possible to retain an eagerness for 
new knowledge and experience and to avoid the "fixation" 
of ideas. 

An abiding confidence in life and people should be held 
to, especially a faith in young people. Cynicism should be 
allowed no foothold toward the new generation. We 
should freely accept the limitations which the passing 
years put upon us. We should keep busy with tasks that 
lead us to think of other people and their needs. We should 
ever remember that God's help is a reality. Our God is 
abundantly "able to do exceeding abundantly above all 
we ask or think." 

I shall grow old, but never lose life's zest, 
Because the road's last turn will be the best. 

An old age serene and bright, 
And lovely as a Lapland night, 
Shall lead thee to thy grave. 

To be helpful, cheerful, merry-hearted is to live longer— 
and is to make people want us to live longer. A few years 
ago I was associated with two good friends who had 
reached a happy old age, one a Methodist and one a Bap- 
tist. My Methodist preacher friend, Dr. George W. Yar- 
brough, wrote me: 

I find it hard to believe all the hard things I hear people say 
about this old world. Last Saturday I went squirrel hunting 
with the little rifle given me by Dr. Young J. Allen. He hunted 
with it when he was fifteen years old. I might feel old if I were 
to try, but I have found out that in the realm of the spiritual 
there is no such thing as age. The saddest of sights is age with 
all the portholes closed and all the lights gone out. In the 
meantime we will always have our Bible and devotional litera- 


ture of the best type within our reach, and no grass in the path 
to the mercy seat. 

My Baptist friend, Dr. D. W. Key, wrote me: 

"I am not counting on great strength; I will need to econo- 
mize on physical expenditure. As I walk along the margin of 
two worlds, I have a sort of double pleasure of happy reminis- 
cences and joyous anticipations. I know whom I have be- 

Dr. J. B. Cranfill, who for a long time was a prominent 
figure in the Baptist churches of Texas, wrote in his eighty- 
fifth year: 

My prescription free to all of you is: if you are now old, sing 
your way on into Heaven. There will be no preaching in 
Heaven, and I guess some of the sleepy-headed deacons will 
be awfully glad of it. So, my dear friends, hug my prescription 
to your hearts, and say along with me: "Eye hath not seen, nor 
ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the 
things which God hath prepared for them that love him." 

Bishop Edwin H. Hughes addressed his Jurisdictional 
Conference in Atlantic City on retiring from the active 
episcopacy. His gracious and inspiring words will be 

For my remaining years I seek no vacation. Having cultivated 
the art of preparation and having been in love with toil, I 
feel that I must not cease. Perhaps your release of me from 
one kind of work may permit me to do more of another kind 
of work. . . . 

I have had a happy life, so very, very happy. For thirty years 
the Shepherd has led me through sunshine with scarcely a 
clouded sky. When I did go into the valley of the shadow, 
He was with me with the comfort of the rod and staff. Now 
He grants me this solemnly joyful hour with you all. I beg 


you to continue to give me your love. I could not well live 
without it— since you have made me so used to its climate. 

The happiness of old age is enhanced by glad memories 
of the past. But life cannot thrive on reminiscences. A 
happy old age looks with faith and hope to the future. 

I am done with the years that were, I am quits; 

I am done with the dead and the old. 
They are mines worked out; I delved in their pits; 

I have saved their grains of gold. 
Now I turn to the future for wine and bread; 

I have bidden the past adieu. 
I laugh and lift hands to the years ahead; 

Come on, I am ready for you. 1 

1 Edwin Markham, "Look Ahead." Reprinted by permission of Virgil 

Chapter X 


It is within our power so to treasure in memory the 
happy events and experiences of the past as to bring joy 
to the present. The homely lines that follow are ex- 

There was a dachshund, one so long 
He hadn't any notion 
How long it took to notify 
His tail of his emotion; 
And so it happened, while his eyes 
Were filling with woe and sadness, 
His little tail went wagging on 
Because of previous gladness. 

Many people have reason to be grateful for the gracious 
memories which help to carry them over the dark days. Let 
us thank God for any "previous gladness" that may serve 
to encourage our hearts. If we are tempted, because of per- 
sonal sorrows or national tribulations, to sink into the 
depths of despair, the memory of better days will help 
to quicken the hope which was voiced in the Negro spir- 
itual: "Ev'ry day'll be Sunday by and by!" It is for memory 
to lay up a rich store of blessings in early life. 


The memory of life's high moments and rich experience 
kindles gratitude, and the grateful heart is the happy heart. 



The treasures of memory produce happiness both in this 
world and in the world to come. 

Memory keeps the personality intact and gives unity to 
our otherwise incoherent existence. Amnesia breaks up the 
unity of life. The incident is given of a shell-shocked war 
veteran who appeared on a public platform with the 
pathetic plea, "Can anyone tell me who I am?" 

As necessary as is memory to our happiness, we are to 
avoid living too exclusively in our reminiscences. The 
past must not be overstressed to the neglect of the present 
and future. An old story illustrates: A man had an opera- 
tion to restore his memory, but he lost his eyesight. He 
then had an operation to restore his eyesight, but he lost 
his memory again. He became jittery and went to see the 
finest surgeon he could find. After an examination, the 
surgeon said, "I can perform an operation and give back 
your memory, but you will lose your eyesight. Which had 
you hather have?" 

The man reflected only for a moment and said: "I had 
rather have my eyesight. I had rather see where I am 
going than to remember where I have been." 

Some things we do not want to hold in memory. Memory 
brings ghosts to the banquet table. Memory may be a 
bane or a blessing, a curse or a joy. Happiness in life 
depends on the kind of memories we have. 

We must not hold in memory that which is destructive 
of happiness. The motto of Paul was, "Forgetting those 
things which are behind, ... I press on." A suggested 
prayer is, "Lord, teach me to forget what I ought to forget, 
and remember what I ought to remember." 

There are memories, however, that follow on the heels 
of evil and cannot be erased. Burns, the poetical genius of 
Scotland, gives voice to his own experience. He wrote 
these lines to a mouse which he upturned while plowing. 


Still thou art blest, compared wi' mel 
The present only toucheth thee: 
But, ochl I backward cast my ee 

On prospects drearl 
An' forward, tho' I canna see, 

I guess an' fearl 

We must learn and practice the art of forgetting. 

Forget the steps already trod 
And onward urge thy way. 

The failures of the past must be forgotten, with our mis- 
takes and errors and sins and disappointments. This is not 
to say that we must not cultivate the art of remembering. 
The goodness and mercy of God must be treasured in 
memory. Without this memory of the past, hope for the 
future would die. Memory is one of the good angels of 
God. "The tender grace of a day that is dead" should abide 
with us. We are softened and uplifted by the memories 
of other days— the memories of those whom we have 
loved long since and lost awhile. 

But we are specially concerned just now with forget- 
ting. We must not morbidly give way to vain regrets. The 
unalterable past is not only beyond human power but 
beyond divine power to change. Very much of our un- 
happiness arises from chafing over certain acts and choices 
which are forever fixed in the past. Tennyson described 
it in the almost perfect poem: 

Dear as remembered kisses after death, 
And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned 
On lips that are for others; deep as love, 
Deep as first love, and wild with all regret; 
Oh death in life, the days that are no more. 


These vain regrets are most poignant in those incidents 
of life when we were forced to make a choice, when the 
reasons appeared to be almost evenly balanced for either 
of the two ways between which we had to choose. In some 
instances we are consoled when, in the light of after events, 
we feel that the choice we made was the wisest and best. 
In other instances we are tantalized with the thought 
that the decision which we did not make would have been 
better. In a situation like this we should forget in the 
realization that, since the past is irrevocable, we only 
hinder our progress with regretful recollections. 

"If I had done this instead of that, . . . If I had gone to 
another school, ... 7/ I had settled in another location, . . . 
If I had got ten years ago that job I wanted so badly, . . . If 
I had chosen another vocation, ... 7/ I had made another 
investment, . . ." Some even go so far as to say, "If I had 
married John instead of Henry, or Sara instead of Jane, 
. . ." Their lives are full of if's and might-have-beens. "If" 
has no place in our lives. What is past is done, and we 
cannot change it. Why waste energy bemoaning it, mak- 
ing our lives miserable and bringing pain to others, when 
it is much better to use that energy meeting the problems 
of the present and the future? Drop "if" out of your 
vocabulary once and for all. Instead of thinking in terms 
of if's— conditional events— or dreaming about might-have- 
beens, think in terms of actual, new, and concrete experi- 
ences. "If" can and will upset your spiritual equilibrium. 

After all, it is by no means certain that the other choice 
would have been better. The business venture which you 
think would have been successful might have resulted in 
disaster. As to the matrimonial venture, it is very probably 
true that you did not get your first choice, but you had 
better not confess it. Then if you could see that first 
choice forty years afterward, you might be led to self- 


Vain regrets are as useless as they are harmful, and they 
paralyze the powers which make possible our future prog- 
ress. Forget your mistakes and errors and failures. Do not 
keep them before your eyes; but keep them as stepping- 
stones under your feet, and organize victory out of defeat. 
Forget the sins which God has forgiven and forgotten. He 
has cast our sins into the depths of the sea. To brood over 
them is as injurious as to make light of them. Cease to pry 
into the sepulcher of the buried past. Forget the sins of 
others against you— your enmities and alienations, old 
hatreds, old prejudices, and old grudges. We need to 
throw the useless trash away. 

We must forget past successes, past achievements, and 
past service. "Forgetting those things which are behind, 
... I press on." 

A past experience of religion will not avail you now. 
Past service for the church and the kingdom of God is no 
substitute for continued labor and sacrifice. You have not 
stored up a superfluous supply of merit. I know of an old 
man who said in the experience meeting, "Brethren, I 
feel that the Lord ought to be mighty good to me, for I've 
done a heap for the Lord." There are those who are of 
very little service to the church, since they are so busy re- 
counting the deeds of the past. 

Church people will fling away hundreds and thousands 
of dollars for show and pleasure— the parade and the pride 
of life, luxury and amusement, and automobiles for 
pleasure riding— and forget all about it. But when they 
give a few hundred dollars to a church building or church 
enterprise, if it were ten or twenty years ago, it is as fresh 
in their memory as if it were today. The result is the 
paralysis of the spirit and the prevention of progress. 
They are much in favor of progress in their own private 
financial matters but become the chronic standpatters in 
the church. 


A discriminating memory makes for happiness— a mem- 
ory that sifts out what proves a hindrance and retains 
what is helpful. 


In contrast with memory, which derives happiness from 
the past, the imagination may minister to the happiness 
by projecting itself into the future. It has been pertinently 
observed that in the average man the range of the senses 
is the limit of the emotions. G. Stanley Hall said: 

The imagination is one of the most potent of all human fac- 
ulties. ... By it we escape the limits of time, space, and even 
all personality that hedges us in; lives may be ever so limited, 
yet by this power we can almost become citizens of all time and 
spectators of all events. By it the poet, artist, and prophet 
have wrought their magic in the world. 

Agnosticism says: "I will accept nothing but the visible, 
the tangible, the knowable. Away with probabilities: I 
will have nothing but facts." Such a philosophy flings away 
the part of us that dreams and hopes. Like Confucianism, 
it attempts to build up, without the imagination, a sys- 
tem of philosophy in which the unseen world is left out 
of accounting. But imagination cannot be brushed aside; 
it is so large a part of the human soul. As long as "hope 
springs eternal in the human breast," so long will imagina- 
tion visualize the immortal future. 

Through imagination we visualize a more glorious fu- 
ture in this present world. It is not an easygoing optimism 
that is blind to the forces of evil, but faith in the ultimate 
victory of the good. Jesus announced not only a personal 
victory but the victory of humanity when he declared, "I 
have overcome the world." "They that be with us are more 
than they that be with them." We need a clearing of the 
mental vision to enable everyone that fights on God's side 


to see that he has no reason to fear, though a host should 
encamp against him; for a stronger force is camping with 
him. When Elijah thought that he was alone, he was told 
that there were seven thousand with him. Elijah had spent 
so much time in the woods and mountains and deserts that 
he had grown despondent. We can excuse his fault, for it 
had been dangerous for him to mingle much with men; 
but in this day there can be no sort of excuse for the man 
who ventures to say to God or to the world, "I am left 
alone." We have as our allies an unseen army, and in this 
assurance joy takes the place of a disturbing anxiety. 
Through imagination we can picture the sins and de- 
formities of our lives— our pride and envy and selfishness 
and cowardice and hypocrisies— and thus be put on the way 
toward removing the peace-destroying elements that beset 
us along the way. 

Through the exercise of the imagination we may bring 
either misery or happiness to ourselves. Through the ex- 
ercise of the imagination we may bring either happiness or 
misery to other lives. How shall we treat our fellow man? 
In the Golden Rule Jesus answers: "Use your imagination 
to put yourself in his place and treat him as you would 
like to be treated yourself." It was a unique contribution 
of Jesus that he enlisted the imagination of men in the 
interest of the good way of life. The cruelty with which 
nations treat nations, and individuals treat individuals, 
results from the absence of imagination. 

We need to visualize the suffering of others from a per- 
sonal perspective. A man must see a man as a neighbor 
before he will treat him as a neighbor. Both evil and good 
spring out of the imagination. Jesus tells us that murder 
may be just an act of the imagination, and adultery is 
first of all a sin of the imagination. Likewise the imagina- 
tion is necessary in the realization of the highest spiritual 
truths. Jesus tells us as we ask after God to use our imagi- 


nation and picture him as a good Father. The psalmist 
makes the same sort of appeal. "Like as a Father pitieth 
his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him." 


An imagination that looks to the future will aid in the 
mastery of temptations that would work our ruin. 

We are to use imagination to give to life in the midst of 
temptation and duties the light of the afterthought. The 
most cruel mockery that tortures a poor wayward human 
being is the passing from that deception that arrays a 
prospective sin in fascinating colors to the awful and un- 
veiled hideousness of vice in its aftermath. If a young girl, 
face to face with the temptation to surrender the glory of 
womanhood, will only turn away from the persuasive voice 
long enough to project herself far enough into the future 
to see the hue of passion on the cheek turned into a blister 
of shame; to see herself rejected, despised, dishonored, and 
cast as rubbish to the void; and to picture to herself the 
unspeakable remorse and despair of a broken heart and 
blasted life; she would flee with horror from the tempter 
who would destroy her. Form the image of yourself and 
your sin and your regret when the charm of sin has gone, 
and you face only the guilt of life! 

The function of spiritual imagination is to penetrate 
the glitter and glare of sin's disguise and to hold before 
the mind the horror and remorse that inevitably follow 
in the wake of evil. When the brain grows dizzy and the 
senses are charmed under the spell of a present and near 
temptation, our refuge is to visualize the blow to our own 
self-respect and the divine displeasure which would follow 
a surrender to the temptation. 

The mother of the famous artist Millet gave this counsel 
to her son, "Go down and get the last day of your life and 
make it always your company keeper," The wish of Moses 


for Israel was, "O that . . . they would consider their latter 
end!" We need in the light of the afterthought to en- 
lighten our forethought. We need to visualize the final 
goal toward which our present conduct is leading. We 
have the power to visualize the final consequences before 
crossing the black border line into the wrong deed. When 
confronted by a strong desire, we have the power of rein- 
forcing our will with the memory of the good things of 
our past and with an imaginative forecast of the good or 
evil which may be ours in the future. How different the 
wrong act appears as we look back upon it. If the drunkard 
could be made to see the pitiful figure he cuts when gib- 
bering under the influence of alcohol, the hideous object 
lesson would be more effective than the most eloquent 
temperance oration. To realize through imagination the 
disgust that follows the forbidden pleasure serves as a 
strong restraint. 

The man with murder in his heart thinks revenge is 
sweet. But when the slain enemy lies bleeding at his feet, 
then follows the bitterness of remorse— the awful awakening 
of the moment afterwards. 

Someone has said, "We pity the victim in a great crime. 
But ought we not to pity the criminal more?" A measure 
of truth is contained in this exaggeration. If the malicious 
man could be made to see himself as he appears when 
anger has swept reason from the throne, he would struggle 
more bravely to keep himself under firm control. 

Nothing can be more pathetic or tragic than the moment 
which follows some terrible wrong committed in one 
moment's absence of self-control. There is doubtless always 
a gracious moment, a moment of rescue if we will but 
reckon with it, that will save us from a moral catastrophe 
when hard pressed by strong and subtle temptations. 
There is the saving moment when we may project our- 
selves into the future and ask, "How will I wish I had 


acted? What would be my choice in the light of the after- 

We have the power of taking the long look and weigh- 
ing the profit of tomorrow against the pleasure of today. 
Our sins and follies and tragedies would be avoided if 
only we would exercise a spiritual imagination to project 
ourselves into the moment after. It is the visualizing of the 
moment afterward, the entire life afterward, and eternity 
afterward, which will assist us in achieving victory of soul 
and contentment of spirit. 

Chapter XI 


Happiness springs out of inner attitudes. It results from 
loving and from the consciousness of being loved. Un- 
happiness is expressed in the desolate words, "No man 
cared for my soul." The spirit of gratitude is an unfailing 
source of joy. The gratitude of Jesus is voiced in, "I 
thank thee, O Father." Paul was thankful not only for 
the mercies of God but for the kindness of men. He passes 
on his prescription of happiness, "In every thing give 
thanks." The grateful person contemplates the goodness 
and mercy of God, and gratitude disperses gloom. Happi- 
ness is the indestructible possession of the loving and 
grateful spirit. 

Happiness is inward and not outward. It does not de- 
pend on what we have but on what we are. This is the 
message of the Beatitudes. Dr. W. R. Maltby wrote: 

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus promised his disciples 
three things— that they would be entirely fearless, that they 
would be absurdly happy, and that they would get into trou- 
ble. They did get into trouble and found, to their surprise, 
that they were not afraid. They were absurdly happy, for they 
laughed over their own troubles, and only cried over other 

Since happiness was within, no outward storms could 
ruffle their inner calm. This primary and major and all- 



inclusive condition of happiness needs to be stressed. It is a 
vain search for happiness in life's externalities. Neither 
life nor happiness consists in the abundance of things 
which we possess. Happiness can never be found in the 
multiplication of material possessions and cannot be 
achieved through fame or wealth or pleasure or power or 
knowledge. "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye 
do them." 

The promise of God according to Jeremiah is, "I will 
put my law in their inward parts." "Keep thy heart with 
all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." 

When a man travels, he changes his skies but not him- 
self. A man may escape everything else, but he cannot 
escape himself. The heart of spiritual religion is that peace 
is a state of mind. 

A lady who was restless and unhappy in spite of much 
wealth told her colored maid that she thought a change 
of scenery was what she needed. She spoke of a place with 
pleasing prospects. "I could be happy there," she said. 

"No, ma'am," replied her maid, "you surely would not 
be happy there, 'cause you'd have to take yourself with 
you wherever you went." 

A frantic, aimless pace destroys peace. Physical sensa- 
tion is a poor substitute for spiritual serenity. Even if all 
life were comfortably adjusted in material affairs, and even 
if we had achieved social justice, and even if all people 
were living together in moral decency, still there would be 
a restlessness in the human soul unless these human striv- 
ings of ours have some validity in an infinite purpose. 


Some lives have been compared to a whirlpool— plenty 
of motion, but no progress— merely going round and 
round. Some lives are like a ride on a merry-go-round— 
they get off where they started from. 


A person went into a retail store to purchase a compass. 
The clerk replied, "We have compasses for drawing circles 
but not for going places." One type of instrument can 
draw circles, but the other can hold a vessel true to its 
course. We need the type of compass that helps us to go 

Stephen Leacock's description of the man who "mounted 
his horse and rode off in all directions" is pertinent. We 
are told of the Scotchman who had a penchant for attend- 
ing funerals just for the ride. In our chaotic life "with its 
sick hurry, its divided aims," we 

. . . see all sights from pole to pole, 

And glance, and nod, and bustle by; 
And never once possess our soul 
Before we die. 

This incident was related of Professor Huxley, who 
was about to be late in catching a train. Thinking the 
porter had stated his destination, he said to the driver, 
"Drive fast." The driver laid the lash on the horse. Huxley 
began to realize that he was not on the direct route to the 
station. He asked, "Do you know where you are driving 

The reply was, "No, your honor, but I'm driving fast." 

The speedometer should not be allowed to displace the 

This aimlessness is expressed in the familiar slang, "I 
don't know where I'm going, but I'm on the way." With- 
out a philosophy of ends, one is like the dog at the railroad 
station that has eaten its tag— the dog knows, and every- 
body else knows, that he is going somewhere; but nobody 
knows where. 

I once approached a ticket agent and said, "I want a 
lower berth. What is the price?" 

He replied, "Are you going anywhere in particular?" 


To know where we are going— to have a definite goal- 
makes for an inner serenity of the soul. 

The declaration of Paul is: "This one thing I do, for- 
getting those things which are behind, ... I press toward 
the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ 


There belonged to Jesus the emotion of radiant joy. 
Only twice is he said to have wept: once at the grave of 
Lazarus and again in his lament over Jerusalem. These 
were tears from compassion, and not from a temperament 
of gloom. He found enjoyment in social life. His joy was a 
constant rebuke to men with tombstone faces. Beset by 
persecution, he exhorted his disciples, "Be of good cheer; 
I have overcome the world." 

In the beginning of his ministry, he taught his disciples 
that happiness was a possession of the inner spirit which 
outside circumstances and forces could not destroy. Happy 
are the poor in spirit. Happy are the mourners. Happy are 
meek. Happy are those who hunger and thirst for goodness. 
Happy are the merciful. Happy are the pure in heart. 
Happy are the peacemakers. Happy are those who have 
been persecuted for the sake of goodness. Rejoice and exult 
in it, for your reward is riches in heaven. 

Jesus lived the Beatitudes before he ever expressed 
them. They were the transcript of his own inner experi- 
ence. Jesus kept himself free from fear and tension, main- 
taining calm strength and confidence in the face of over- 
whelming odds. He went alone to the wilderness, the sea- 
shore, the mountains, and there gained freedom from 
physical exhaustion and mental tension, for he knew that 
in solitude he could regain clear vision and restored 
energy. Most of us never stop until we near the nervous 
breakdown stage. 


Jesus never lost sight of God. He lived day by day with 
an awareness of the Invisible. He steeped his soul in the 
assurance of the Old Testament: "The Lord is my shep- 
herd; I shall not want." "Fret not thyself because of evil- 
doers. . . . Rest in the Lord; and wait patiently for him." 
"The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the 
everlasting arms." The presence of the Father fell across 
the work of his life. The most serene person who ever 
walked this world lived with an intimate sense of God's 

As we live in fellowship with Jesus, his promised peace 
will steal into our hearts. We shall not be disturbed by 
life's material externalities. It was a great saying of a 
businessman following a financial failure, "Thank God, I 
did not lose anything but my money." As we retain the 
spiritual values our source of joy abides. 

Jesus, thou Joy of loving hearts! 

Thou Fount of Life! Thou Light of menl 
From the blest bliss that earth imparts, 

We turn unfilled to thee again. 

O Jesus, ever with us stay; 

Make all our moments calm and bright; 
Chase the dark night of sin away; 

Shed o'er the world thy holy light! 

Jesus lived with a calm in his mind and a serenity in his 
soul because he never lost the sense of perspective. He 
always correctly evaluated the things of the world. Emerson 
said, "The supreme lesson of life is to learn what the cen- 
turies say against the hours." Jesus took the long view of 
life. No outward persecutions and calamities could ever 
mar the inner joy of his spirit. 

A vital faith in God will bring us joy in the midst of the 
disappointments and sorrows of life. "Let not your heart 


be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me." "All 
things work together for good to them that love God." 

Read the Sermon on the Mount and meditate upon it 
until the faith and the spirit of it seep into every crevice 
and pore of your being. 

Outwardly the life of Jesus was disturbed, and the storm 
of opposition beat with pitiless fury upon him. Inwardly 
there was a great calm, as smooth and unruffled as a sea 
of glass. Tumult and tempest, tempest and tumult, broke 
upon him; but nothing could disturb the quiet serenity 
of his spirit. At last his worn body was laid in the grave, 
but the great calm was always in the inner life. Misfortune 
could not reach him, for he had no fortune. Injury to 
reputation could not affect him, for he "made himself of 
no reputation." Even when his enemies were hounding 
him to death, he said to his own inner circle of disciples, 
"Peace I leave with you." We are to have his mind of 
meekness and lowliness of spirit. 

The rest of Christ is the missing note in our religious 
experience. The first martyr fell before a shower of stones, 
and the beholders saw his face as the face of an angel. 


We are so accustomed to think of Jesus as the "Man of 
Sorrows" that we fail to reckon with his abounding joy. 
Deeper than his sorrows were the inexhaustible springs 
of his joy— "who, for the joy that was set before him, en- 
dured the cross." 

What were some of the sources of the joy of Jesus? 

First of all the physical vitality and strength of Jesus 
contributed to the happiness of his spirit. His body was 
the perfect medium for the expression of his mind and will. 

Again his singleness of spiritual purpose was an un- 
failing source of happiness. He performed his mission with 
no divided aim. With a perfectly integrated personality 


directed toward a great cause he moved with poise and 
serenity toward the goal which he set before himself. No 
selfish aims marred the perfect purity of his purpose. 

Jesus possessed the hopeful spirit that was confident of 
victory in at last attaining his supreme objective. He saw 
"Satan as lightning fall from heaven." He knew that the 
right was sure to win. 

Jesus possessed complete harmony with the will of God. 
His own prayer was: "Not my will, but thine, be done." 
He taught us to pray, "Thy will be done." When the 
human will is in conflict with the divine will, unhappiness 
of life inevitably follows. The spirit of Jesus was radiantly 
happy, and his supreme happiness finds explanation in his 
words: "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and 
to finish his work." No suffering or persecution could 
swerve him for one moment from the loving will of God. 

Jesus found happiness in self-expression, since it was 
the expression of the best. In his incarnation he expressed 
the mind of God. 

The joy of God was in expressing himself in the incar- 
nate Christ. In our everyday human intercourse we find a 
measure of happiness in speaking our thoughts. In a social 
group, in the exchange of ideas, we are prone to make a 
selfish monopoly of the conversation. It is said of Dr. Oliver 
Wendell Holmes that he left his sentences unfinished in 
order to avoid any interruption. Our happiness is in- 
creased when we have something that is worth expressing. 

By way of reiteration, happiness springs out of gratitude. 
This is the very heart and hub of happiness. The grateful 
heart is happy. The grateful person does not brood over 
disappointments, but meditates on the mercies of God. 
This is expressed by the old hymn: 

Count your blessings, 
Name them one by one, 


Count your blessings, 

See what God hath done. 1 


The purpose of Jesus was that his followers should be 
happy despite outward circumstances. His Beatitudes sound 
the keynote of happiness. He invites the weary and heavy- 
laden to enter into his rest. He said to the woman who was a 
sinner. "Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace." To all 
who are disturbed by life's perplexities Jesus says, "Let 
not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also 
in me." In his risen appearance he said to his disciples, 
"Peace be unto you." He promises a "joy no man taketh 
from you." 

The spirit of Paul was one of abounding joy on account 
of the inner wealth of spiritual resources. His faith was 
victorious over hard circumstances. When, together with 
Silas, he was cast into the Philippian jail, the record is: 
"And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises 
unto God." Stoicism never sings. Agnosticism voices no 
hymn of praise. The joy of Paul and Silas was a radiating 
happiness. The other prisoners heard them, and the jailer 
sought a salvation that could make men joyful in tribula- 
tion. The injunction of Paul to the early Christians was, 
"Rejoice evermore." Modern Christians are sorely in 
need of this jubilant note. 

Paul declared that the secret of his own happiness was in 
the inner quality of his spirit, and not in outward sur- 
roundings. "For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, 
therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, 
and I know how to abound: every where and in all things 
I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to 
abound and to suffer need." The jars of life, the sudden 
transitions from favorable to unfavorable circumstances, 

1 Copyright by Hope Publishing Co. 


could not disturb the serenity of his spirit. The lines of 
Whittier breathe a prayer. 

Drop thy still dews of quietness, 

Till all our strivings cease; 
Take from our souls the strain and stress. 
And let our ordered lives confess 

The beauty of thy peace. 

One of my favorite hymns is by an unknown author: 

O for a heart of calm repose 

Amid the world's loud roar, 
A life that like a river flows 

Along a peaceful shore! 

Come, Holy Spirit! still my heart 

With gentleness divine; 
Indwelling peace thou canst impart; 

O make that blessing mine! 

Above these scenes of storm and strife 

There spreads a region fair; 
Give me to live that higher life, 

And breathe that heavenly air. 

Come, Holy Spirit! breathe that peace, 

That victory make me win; 
Then shall my soul her conflict cease, 

And find a heaven within. 

WILLIAM PETER KING, a native of Georgia, 
received his education at Emory and Vander- 
bilt Universities. An ordained minister, he has 
served pastorates in Missouri and Georgia. He 
has also served as editor of the Wesleyan Chris- 
tian Advocate, the Methodist, Quarterly Re- 
view, and the Nashville Christian Advocate and 
as book editor for the Methodist Episcopal 
Church. South. 

Dr. King has been a frequent contributor to 
periodicals and is the author of several vol- 
umes including: 





A contagious happiness is to be found in the pages of this 
volume. Written by a man who has found happiness in his own 
life and who here offers proof that happiness is within the easy 
reach of the daily lives of each of us, it discusses the elements oi 
happiness and goes on to point out how we may achieve hap- 
piness through the simple things of life. 

Part One— The Wrong Trail 


Part Two— The Foes of Hap- Part Three— The Conditions 

piness of Happiness 






Written in an easily read style and with a deep note of sobriety, 
this volume will help everv reader to attain a new and continu- 
ing joy and happiness in his daily life. It contains deep inspira- 
tion for fuller living through eu atti'udes toward one's 
work, one's fellow men, and one's Gjd. 


17 WO